It’s Official: U.S. Won’t Arrest Medical Pot Users Who Obey States


The Obama administration will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors today, the Associated Press reports. The Bush administration continued to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes. Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that he wanted federal law enforcement officials to pursue those who violate both federal and state law, but a memo spelling out the policy is the first time it was clear how that goal would be put into practice. The memo emphasizes that prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing which cases to pursue, and says it is not a good use of federal manpower to prosecute those who are without a doubt complying with state law. Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said he wants to shutter clinics that sell pot for profit.

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