Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but that has not stopped an industry of marijuana farms and dispensaries from rising to serve the 15 states that allow the drug to be used for medical purposes. the Obama administration seemed to make a point of paying little attention — until now, says the New York Times. Federal prosecutors are authorizing raids and sending strongly worded letters that have cast new uncertainty on an issue that has long brimmed with tension between federal and state law.
Letters have gone out to governors in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, prompting some states — including Rhode Island and Montana, in addition to Washington — to revise or back away from plans to make the medical marijuana industry more mainstream. How can a drug that federal drug law says is criminal be considered medicine under state law? “It's weird,” said Kevin Griffin of West Coast Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary that opened in Washington state in February. “We're not a pharmacy. We spent a lot of time gathering information, and this is what we came up with as the most responsible, legal way.”