Remember this guy? I miss that Barack Obama.

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Opinion Zone

Remember this guy?:

“My attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as cancer treatment, I think that’s appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. 

...

What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I [would rather] be investigating violent crimes [and] potential terrorism.”

-then-Sen. Barack Obama, 2008

I miss that Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama believes something completely different because the raids on cannabis clinics keep coming.

Since 1998, it’s been legal to prescribe and use medical cannabis in the state of Washington.  In 2008, the state set a limit of cannabis for medical consumption at a 60-day supply of no more than 24 ounces or 12 plants.  The law is silent on how one acquires said cannabis, but the Department of Justice is intent on making that acquisition impossible.

Thursday, the DEA raided several cannabis dispensaries in Washington State.  This can’t be surprising because the state's U.S. Attorneys declared all of Washington’s dispensaries illegal earlier this month in a letter to Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (D):

The prosecution of individuals and organizations involved in the trade of any illegal drugs and the disruption of drug trafficking organizations is a core priority of the [Justice] Department. This core priority includes prosecution of business enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana. Accordingly, while the Department does not focus its limited resources on seriously ill individuals who use marijuana as part of a medically recommended treatment regimen in compliance with state law as stated in the October 2009 Ogden Memorandum, we maintain the authority to enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law. The Department's investigative and prosecutorial resources will continue to be directed toward these objectives. (emphasis mine)

While the letter stresses the letter of the law and several sections in the Controlled Substances Act, U.S. Attorneys cannot be trusted to pay heed to memos they don’t like. This highlighted sentence above directly contradicts the memorandum it cites. The Ogden Memo clearly states that U.S. Attorneys “should not focus federal resources in...States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” (emphasis mine)  Granted, the memo itself is self-neutering, saying that prosecution is not forbidden even when state laws are observed, but the intent of the memo is unambiguous.

Nevertheless, perhaps the sick people who rely on the dispensaries in Washington State can smoke the Ogden Memo because it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on and the Eastern District of Washington sure doesn’t use it.

If candidate Obama is to be believed, then these actions are identical to stealing needed medicine from those who need it.  The administration should take steps, preferably by supporting legislation rather than executive order, that explicitly prohibits federal prosecution of state-sanctioned cannabis providers and patients.  Meaningless memos and public statements of good intentions are no substitute for real medicine.

H/T: Jeralyn at TalkLeft

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