The Star-Ledger in New Jersey published the long awaited ‘clarifying’ memo on medical marijuana last night from the Department of Justice.
It appears from the letter that the Obama administration’s DOJ is going to continue to walk the fine line between allowing ‘self preservation’ for medical cannabis patients (i.e., a patient can possess and cultivate a small amount of cannabis for their personal use) and prohibiting what they call “large scale” medical cannabis cultivation and sales.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, in a letter addressed to every state attorney general, reaffirmed “it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen … and their caregivers.”
But the large-scale growing and scaling activity seen in some states troubles the Obama administration, according to Cole’s letter.
“There has, however, been an increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, distribution, and use of marijuana for purported medical purposes,” according to the letter. “For example, within the past 12 months, several jurisdictions have considered or enacted legislation to authorize multiple, large-scale, privately operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers. Some of these planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars based on the planned cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants.”
The earlier memo “never intended to shield such activities from federal law enforcement and prosecution, even when these activities purport to comply with state law,” according to the letter