Providence, RI: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) will soon "clarify" its position in regards to those who use, possess, produce, and distribute cannabis for medical purposes in compliance with state law, United States Attorney General Eric Holder stated last week at a press conference in Providence, Rhode Island.
Holder had been questioned regarding the Administration's stance after US Attorneys in various states sent letters to lawmakers threatening to sanction state-licensed medical marijuana providers. Those letters persuaded lawmakers in several states, including New Jersey and Rhode Island, to suspend programs allowing for the state-licensed production and dispensing of marijuana. In Arizona, state attorney general Tom Horne, at the request of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, has filed a lawsuit requesting a federal judge to determine whether state officials can legally license private entities to dispense marijuana under the state's newly enacted medical cannabis law.
Holder stated, "We're going to bring clarity so that people understand what [the federal] policy means and how this policy will be implemented." He added: "We are in the process of working [on] these issues with the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island and other U.S. Attorneys across the country. My hope is that sometime in the not too distant future ... it will be addressed."
In 2009, the United States DOJ issued a memorandum to selected US Attorneys that stated, in part, "As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.