Latest DOJ Memo Emphasizes Why We Must Pass HR 2306, The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act Of 2011

On Wednesday the Obama administration for the second time in two years issued a Department of Justice memorandum regarding the state-sanctioned use and production of medical cannabis. However, unlike the release of the 2009 ‘Ogden memo,’ which the administration promoted with great fanfare, the issuance of this week’s ‘Cole memorandum’ is strategically being downplayed by the Justice Department.
As for the content of the memo, which you can read in full here, it’s hardly surprising — particularly in light of the administration’s recent, and highly public threats to lawmakers in states wishing to enact medical marijuana laws or expand upon their existing programs.
Perhaps most notably, the memorandum states that the recent flurry of intimidating US Attorney letters to state lawmakers are ‘entirely consistent’ with the Obama administration’s position. In other words, the administration is now on record in support of claims made by US Attorneys in Rhode Island, Washington, and other states alleging that state employees could be targeted and federally prosecuted for simply registering and licensing medical cannabis patients or providers — a position that is even more extreme than that of the previous administration. (Notably to date, however, no state employee — or for that matter, no state sanctioned dispensary operator — has ever been prosecuted by the federal government.)
The memo goes on to state that the federal government distinguishes between individual medical cannabis patients and third party providers, indicating that it is a poor use of federal resources (rather than a poor use of judgment) to target the former, while indicating that the latter are fair game for federal prosecution. It states:

“A number of states have enacted some form of legislation relating to the medical use of marijuana. Accordingly the Ogden memo reiterated to you that prosecution of significant traffickers in illegal drugs, including marijuana, remains a core priority, but advised that 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 consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers. The term “caregiver” as used in the memorandum meant just that: individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana.”

Finally, the memo acknowledges that there has been an increase in the number of states that have either enacted or are considering enacting state laws allowing for the licensed production and distribution of cannabis to authorized patients. (To date, such state-licensed dispensaries are up and running in Colorado, New Mexico, and Maine; laws permitting such facilities are on the books in Arizona, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.) Clearly, the federal government is not at all pleased with this progress.

The Odgen Memorandum was never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law. Persons who are in the business of cultivating. selling, or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. Consistent with the resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution. State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil enforcement of federal law with respect to such conduct, including enforcement of the CSA. Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financing laws.”

Regardless of how one wishes to interpret the latest memo from the DOJ, one thing is clear. States will never truly enjoy the freedom to experiment with alternative marijuana policies until the federal government is compelled to get out of their way. Only the passage of HR 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011,’ can make that happen.
House Bill 2306 mimics changes enacted by Congress that repealed the federal prohibition of alcohol by removing the federal government’s power to prosecute minor marijuana offenders. It would eliminate the existing conflict between federal law and the laws of those sixteen states that already allow for the limited use of marijuana under a physicians’ supervision. Further, it would permit state governments that wish to fully legalize and regulate the responsible use, possession, production, and intrastate distribution of marijuana for all adults to be free to do so without federal interference.
State lawmakers should be free to explore alternate marijuana policies — including medicalization, decriminalization, and/or legalization — without being held hostage to archaic federal prohibition or the whims of the Department of Justice. Contact your member of Congress and urge him or her to vote ‘yes’ on HR 2306.

112 thoughts

  1. Obviously the government hasn’t learned anything from the prohibitation of alcohol! And with the two wars going on, they haven’t learned from Viet Nam either! Oh, I’m sorry, they did learn how to manipulate the news coming from the battle front, my mistake!

  2. I challenge the United States Department of Justice, the DEA, and the Obama Administration to all attempt to arrest, prosecute, and criminalize the State employees for authorizing medical cannabis. It can’t be done, both legally and morally.

  3. Well maybe they can find a way legally, but I’d like to see them take that up with 70+% of Americans. Assholes.

  4. “Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financing laws.”
    Are not the taxes collected from these businesses, proceeds in some sort? I am confused?

  5. The growing and use of Marijuana has never been a crime in the Republic for the united States of America. I can prove it with case law if, and history. The law making marijuana a crime is a unlawful(DE FACTO)CRIME, and has never existed!!! I have never smoked Marijuana, but that doesn’t mean I/WE the People don’t have a Right to grow and use it!!! Marijuana is food!!! The government can’t outlaw FOOD!!!!!! If anybody want to hear the TRUTH You can email me leave me a phone number and I call you with proof!!!

  6. I’m sure Gov. Jan Brewer here in AZ will use these statements to try and shut down the recently voter passed medical marijuana bill. I am so tired of this run-around, hypocritical, egotistical, voter ignoring and self-fulfilling stance that the Federal Governement and people like Jan Brewer keep taking. I am especially irritated with those that keep backing them up!

  7. “…regardless of state law”? That’s what makes us America – individual States comprising a Nation that lives under the rules and guidelines of the Constitution! Do we need the Government to tell us that only they know what is best for us, and need to protect us from making any wrong choices or decisions we might make individually, that they think might hurt the collective or society? To tell us that we do not have the Right to make these choices for ourselves individually, that they must make these choices for us collectively? You can be put in jail, for up to six months, for installing a toilet tank the Government does not want you to have. Is This Not Tyranny?
    All you have is your life. How you choose to live it, and the choices that you make is what makes you the individual that you are, not what the government chooses for you. When you can no longer choose for yourself, but the government chooses for you, by enforcing its will upon you, for your own good and the good of the collective, you are no longer free, but living under tyranny and slavery.
    With the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Laws of the United States of America, we need to return to where we once were as free individuals, with less restrictive laws, regulations and Government; to be free and stay free, individual and free, in the Freest Nation on Earth… or are we?

  8. It needs to have a public hearing first. It doesn’t look like there is going to much chance of that happening.

  9. The government is suppose to work for the people not against them. What ever happened to majority rules? Listen to your own people and not those corporate scum who keep filling your coffers. We’ve achieved a new era of corruption. Congratulations to all not brave enough to stand up…

  10. so its medicincal value is proven, yet we’re to follow the CSA which states it has no value???
    Stop it. You’re making me really mad, DoJ.

  11. Obama is holding some kind of Twitter town hall meeting. I hope somebody keeps asking Obama about this legislation on legalization, you know, and don’t pussy out like Zuckerberg and the others fucking screening the questions. I don’t want the topic of marijuana limited to just one question, whoever the moderator is. They had better damn well show the Twitter feed and all the pro-legalization criticism of the current prohibition and bitching at and about Obama and This Damn Congress to get the Feds the hell out of the prohibition decision-making. American Exceptionalism, mofo! Yeah!
    Take down that Smith who won’t fuckin’ schedule a hearing and all the others in the way and put them on that public whipping post. And most of fuckin’ all get them on camera making a promise or pledge to schedule the hearing, to talk about the money saved and earned. You know they’re gonna bring up the children. Well, adults don’t get treated the same as minors by the government. You know they’re gonna bring up legalization is gonna cost more in health costs and productivity costs like they always do, and you are gonna have to get out that information to the public so they know what to Tweet about, like statistics or studies that show that California is making out with the savings and the taxes than it’s putting out on MMJ or MJ in general. Other state examples. Even states that do not have MMJ laws are indirectly benefiting from federal taxes collected on MJ if the state is a net beneficiary of money dispersed to the states out of the general fund of revenues collected in federal income taxes. If the state of Pennsylvania receives more money from the federal government than the federal government collected in federal income tax revenues, they are receiving money from revenue derived from another state. There’s no exact dollar-from-state-and-given-to-state tracking. So, if there were and you could track every penny of the federal income tax Richard Lee’s MMJ organization paid over the years then you could tell exactly who in non-MMJ states was all to glad to take the money. I mean, they’re taking the money, too, you know, not asking any questions about where it came from. They might as well have their own state MMJ programs and get the money directly instead of out of state.
    Just get this legislation passed.
    If I think of anythings else to help orchestrate this I’ll let you know.

  12. Well if Obama hadnt already alienated every toker in the US, this shoUld pretty mUch seal the deal…

  13. we will have a canddate that supports an end to marijuana prohabition in 2012 and Obama will be sent packing, Change my ass. Obama lied to get elected. No second term vote here!

  14. What would happen if the Reps. that want marijuana reform team up with the Reps. that think marijuana should remain a schedule I drug. We both want the same thing. If there is a Representative that would vote to keep marijuana a schedule I drug why dont they push to have anyone selling marijuana out of a store that advertises in the paper or from an app. arrested.
    There is no equality in this federal scheduling. As a schedule I drug it has no known medical qualities so there should be no federal allowances for individual states to have a popular vote on it. All of our federal scientists and doctors agree this weed aint no medicine why should the general population be able to veto this and say hell yeah it is a cure-all. I have conducted field tests and it will make you feel alot better.
    I just think hell lets team up with them and say OK federal government what is your position on this. Either it is illegal in these United States of America or individual states can decide on their own who gets locked up for what. Our federal government allows around 14 states to have medicinal marijuana and in Louisiana you can get life in prison for selling this little great weed.

  15. Across California there are an estimated 2,100 dispensaries, co-operatives, wellness clinics, and taxi delivery services in the sector known as “cannabusiness”. That is more than all the Starbucks, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven outlets in the state put together.”[22]
    Got that from Wiki. This is a schedule I drug not a snowball stand.

  16. I sent an e-letter to my Representative, and all I got back was more Nixon era B.S.;
    Dear Brandon,
    Thank you for contacting me regarding legalizing the use of marijuana.  I appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter.
    Marijuana, derived from the hemp plant cannabis sativa, is the most widely used illicit substance in the world, according to the United Nations.  Discussion and debate as to whether it should be legally permitted within the United States has continued for decades.  While I understand your desire to decriminalize marijuana, I am opposed for several reasons. 
    As the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States, marijuana has the potential to be a gateway drug.  Studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also indicate adverse long and short-term health repercussions of marijuana use.  Examples cited by NIH include brain impairment, addiction, and negative mental health effects.  Likewise, legalizing marijuana could potentially provoke unintended consequences such as higher crime rates that are harmful to families, neighborhoods, and communities.   For these reasons, I believe the disadvantages outweigh any claimed advantages of legalizing marijuana. 
    Drug abuse, particularly of gateway drugs such as marijuana, is a serious issue that must be addressed to prevent a generational trend of individuals enslaved to a lifestyle of addiction and drug dependence.  I firmly believe that those individuals who illegally use marijuana are purposely violating federal law and should be held accountable for their actions.  I appreciate your thoughts on the matter and will take them into consideration should federal legislation related to this issue come before the House floor for a vote. ? 
    Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you have not already, I encourage you to take a moment to find me on Facebook (, follow my personal updates on Twitter ( and check out my latest speeches and media appearances on YouTube (
    Tim Huelskamp
    ?Member of Congress
    So….. I responded with quotes from High Times in an article interviewing Dr. Raphael Mechaulam, the man who discovered THC, as well as CBD, and other components of Marijuana. In my retort I mentioned ALCOHOL is the biggest “gateway” drug there is (I tried cigarettes, marijuana, and LSD, among others while under the influence of Alcohol, not marijuana), and I asked him how he would feel if marijuana holds the key to curing cancer, and Congress is fighting legislation “tooth-and-nail” to re-legalize it. As of this writing, I am waiting for a response.
    Thank you; Power to the people !

  17. Yet another unfriendly President to the cause..Please remember this come November 2012…He is a breaker of promises and a spreader of false hopes..

    Potimism-[pot-uh-miz-uhm]- noun
    . The belief that marijuana will become legal no matter how unlikely it seems and there are positive ways around the excuses people give saying it can’t be legal.
    Tell your friends! Let’s make this viral!
    1. A disposition to look at the medical/financial benefits of marijuana and the good it will bring by making it legal.
    2. The belief it can be used responsibly like alcohol, except it’s much safer.
    3. Marijuana prohibition has overall failed and there are reasons it needs to be legal. Having more people vote yes on propositions that would make marijuana more available would help.
    4. To know that if it was sold in stores, weed would not be considered a” gateway drug” due to the fact that some dealers who sell marijuana also sell hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, making it an easy access to its use. This would also make it harder for minors to get it since there would be an age limit.
    5. To know the Reefer Madness generation was a time when people were brainwashed by the government to believe that marijuana has more negative side effects than it really does and that it leads to making bad decisions like murder, which is not true. The movie Reefer Madness, which exploits these untrue lies and was made for the purpose of having people oppose weed, has “Tell your children” in text at the end which sadly to say many have, leading to a chain of generations to believing it is worse than it really is. Thankfully this chain is weakening and more people are starting to realize the truth about weed.
    6. To know that alcohol is the driving force in a number of public and domestic disputes which can lower if more people smoked marijuana instead of drinking alcohol.
    7. That drug lords who operate marijuana rings can start their own legal business if marijuana became legal. (why not?)
    8. Knowing that it being illegal is causing violence to go up due to drug wars. This would go down significantly if the plant was legal.
    9. It had other uses such as oil and clothing.
    10. Our fore fathers, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, grew marijuana and our last three presidents have smoked weed.

  19. I just don’t know what all this “balder-dash” is – about religion’s opposition to what – “in fact” – is a Sacrament to all monotheistic religions. My God! – it’s God’s will and word [as written] – as plain as the nose on one’s face. Follow me in your very own Bible References:
    Genesis I:11,12.
    Genesis I:29,30,31.
    Genesis IX:3.
    Ezekiel [The Prophet] XXXIV:29,30,31.
    Exodus XXX:22-29.
    If those – whomever they are – have a problem with this – “Go tell it to God.” I’m tired of “listening” to all this controversy – and – “defying” the opposition – over God’s will and word – not to mention the evil that naturally comes with it. He said what he meant – and – he meant what he said…enough said!
    My God! – our country was founded on – and – its citizens mandated to grow – “hemp” – and – it’s growers enjoyed its use and gained its benefits as both a medicine and a social pleasure. That’s fuckin’ funny! Georgie W. – “The Founding Father” – Tommy J. – and – Benny F. were “Tokers.” How cool is that? So! who made it illegal and why? And why has it taken so long to be challenged.
    As for me – above all else – my conscience dictates – “for me to be” – a fair and honest person. Nobody has a problem with fair – but – it takes a strong individual to tell the truth – and – an even stronger individual to accept it. “It’s time” – to accept the truth . Don’t let our fantasy fuck with our emotions [which word I use to get your attention]. Reality it the only thing that matters. You can’t find a black cat – in a pitch black room – that doesn’t exist.
    The question then becomes – “How do we arrive at the truth?” The truth is the only thing we’re concerned with. Forget all that bullshit from both sides and just give us “the truth.” Based on your evidence – “we will” decide whether “we will” – accept it or reject it. Just give us – “your proof “ – that substantiates your claims. We demand “Scientific Conclusion” – and – demand that “Scientific Conclusion” be the “Standard” by which it is regarded as a medicine. Is it a food – or – a drug? It’s both – a food – and – a drug! It is a natural drug – God’s Sacramental Medicine. It’s the most nutritional whole food known to man. It is the safest therapeutic substance known to man. We the Genesist People mandate that you prove your claims which we consider false and misleading.

  20. Obama can’t have it both ways and expect to please anybody. How can this man think he can get elected again if all that he has done so far is betray his base? I think he wants to lose. I bet his job sucks so bad he can’t wait to give it to the next fool.

  21. Allright norml is rite on target with revealing obamas
    Agenda on canabis.
    Its outright rediculous for an itellegient society to
    Waste our money n our rights by playing this bullshit
    Politcal game. Keep up the pressure I’m sure he reads
    Your website and has to giving it some thought
    Well Mr.President grow a backbone n do the right
    Thing or you will be outta the House.

  22. To be honest, Obama really has had the worst stance on drugs since Nixon’s WAR ON DRUGS (aka WAR ON AMERICAN INNOCENTS). I mean look at all the dead innocents in Nixon’s war, it’s kinda humorous how these presidents don’t see that what they are doing is so morally evil. Also, this isn’t even a religious statement. To support the prohibition THIS STRONGLY of something that the feds knew since 1975 killed cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact, among so many other medical uses, is morally evil, regardless of your religious beliefs.
    That being said, at least Obama will get to enjoy burning in hell for eternity – if there even is one.
    Also, before people think I’m religious, the concept of segregating into religions is also morally wrong, as evidenced by all the conflicts these religions have created with each other over the years.

  23. Isn’t it obvious we live in a police state? Remember all that “It can’t happen here…” malarky? Well, it HAS happened here. Federal police authorities have power and surveillance techniques the Gestapo only dreamed of. They enact this kabuki theater of “elections”, but guess what? The former Soviet Union had elections, too. Obama told people what they wanted to hear. So he got elected. The problem is, We The People have been complacent and asleep at the wheel of our country. We The People allowed the President to have virtual dictatorial power to wage war. This because we buy into the killing of people who are of cultures we either do not understand or refuse to understand. So, We The People stood by and said nothing while we bombed various peoples who had no means to even defend themselves from such attacks. We The People stood by and allowed cash into our politics as long as that cash bought senators and congressmen who would keep gays from marrying or make abortion illegal. Because, dontchya know, mixing religion and politics always works so well. Why, just look at Saudi Arabia and Iran. Yes, we criticize the “Arabs” but our elections are always influenced by religion. We’re no different than the Taliban in that respect; we just wear different clothes.
    I’m not saying it’s the fault of every American, but it is the fault of most Americans. We have people here frothing at the mouth to “nuke Iran”. Yes, let’s incinerate pregnant women, children, infants, and old people—-because they have a different culture and they’re not “us”. We have people here who are “pro-life” but support the use of cluster munitions that kill children.
    So, can it be any surprise that since we’ve allowed our government to destroy human life so easily that they would, sooner or later, treat its own citizens (subjects, actually) in a similar fashion? Here’s where it stops: Stop supporting war. “What if we’re attacked???!!” Yes, what if? Do we then kill more innocent people to make ourselves feel better? Are we better off now since we’ve killed countless civilians since 9/11? Are we more prosperous? Are we freer? Are we happier? War begets more war and more suffering and, soon, even those who thought themselves honorable and just find themselves to be the same tyrants they claimed to be fighting. Police states need war to justify police power.

  24. The failure of Californians to legalize and tax Cannabis was a win for the DOJ and the administration. It has embolden them to threaten and extort the states to tow the line. Not until Cannabis growers and distributors start paying fees for commercial permits. Taxes both on their product and income will the government start to be a partner instead of foe. California has a very good chance of passing the next referendum that makes state and local governments partners. But the fight is going to be against the commercial growers and distributors that don’t care if their customers go to jail or have their lives ruined as long as criminalization of Cannabis keeps profits high and they don’t have to pay taxes on those profits. Grow your own and share it with those that cant. Send the anti legalization illegal Cannabis industry a message. The rest of the country looks to California to lead us into the next evolution of Cannabis just as it has in the medical field.

  25. Only the DEA has the authority to allow drugs to be re-scheduled, but if marijuana were taken out of Schedule I, there would not be enough drug abuse to justify the DEA’s continued existence.

  26. HR 2306 has no chance what so ever, so why even keep mentioning it? It has to pass a Republicans hands to even get to the floor for a vote, and he has already vowed not to let it get a vote. DONE!!! FINISHED!!! NORML, you keep posting negatives about OBAMA and that negative posting leads to others on here saying they will not vote for him again. I hope you all know what your asking for. I just heard one of the Republican candidates saying how their #1 TOP PRIORITY if they become President would be to put an Immediate END to ALL MEDICAL MARIJUANA of any kind in ALL STATES. Does that sound better for YOU smokers out there?!!! Go ahead and put a Republican back in the White House and see where it takes Medical Marijuana. If a Republican is elected President, Marijuana will be set back 20 years compared to where it is today. At least Obama is for Medical Marijuana for personal use. Before one of you respond by saying RON PAUL or GARY JOHNSON, Please understand, that this will NEVER HAPPEN!!! Be happy with Obama or vote for this guy—and yes this Maniac is actually running for President in the Republican Party 2012 Check out what he tried to do last time he visited Marijuana. follow this link or copy and paste it—
    Then look at all the other Republican candidates and compare them to Obama as for their position on Marijuana.(google President candidates 2012) ( then click on Marijuana policy) OBAMA blows them all out of the water. Look at the candidates and understand which ones truly have a chance to get the Republican NOD.

  27. I made a pledge to my self as an american and a patriot to contact 100 people and ask that they contact 100 people each and tell them the 3 phone numbers to call both their congressman and their senators. This is what it has to come to, the reps got to know there are pro-pot constituents back home, then they will have to support the change that even they know is long overdue.

  28. What’s right is of no consequence in DC. It’s clear that Obama and his political advisors still firmly believe that marijuana reform or liberalization remains a minority position across the US. When they look at the issue and examine it in light of how it they think it hurts or helps their man, their estimation is that to come out for legalization would hurt him with more likely voters than it would help him. Simple as that. In the big picture, in the big league of national presidential politics, this is a sideshow issue for them. It isn’t worth taking a position that they feel certain has no upside, just downside. So we suffer.
    Then add to that a Justice Dept. filled with career true believers in prohibition as genuinely effective if not also a job sustaining policy andyou get memos like this. It doesn’t take much to get them to happily fight back against anyone or anything. They’re Feds, they feel they got the power.

  29. Passing HR 2306 is ideal, but at the same time it’s a bitter-sweet realization that we’re going to win this State-based. There’s just so much suppression. Will it ever end??? I freakin hope so. Looks like a long road ahead.

  30. Obama is in re-election mode 1- degree left of the Republicans.He dont give a damm about our cause.
    Everyone write your congressman again and again, sqeaky wheel gets oiled.If another candidate wil stop this madness, I am
    willing to work fo there campain, for free.Time we start playin the field ,not putting all are eggs in
    one basket. ps; most of all dont give up……peace

  31. With so many other pressing issues, why are we even wasting so much time on this?
    After reading tons of comments by MDs and others from the opposing camp, a major theme against recognizing its medicinal value is not the marijuana itself… It’s the stereotype that the only method of consumption is to smoke it.
    So, a huge part of the resistance to this is a direct result of the growing anti-smoking movement.
    I’m sorry, but that is not a valid argument at all. Check your prejudices against tobacco at the door, this isn’t about smoking.

  32. 37. Li
    Exactly! – they are enforcement not science. “The pursuit of science is the truth.” You’re not going to find any of that in the DEA – especially with Leonhart runnin’ it. Conflict of Interest is grounds for dismissal.

  33. 34. DRodman
    If one doesn’t believe in God [then] 95% of the world is suffering from mass delusion. What’s your point DRodman – is it the War on Drugs or Religion? Frankly – I don’t care if you’re religious or not – that’s your free choice as should the use of cannabis be your free choice.
    Good CDXX Communion.

  34. Mr. Lamar Smith has spoken and this Bill will not see the light of day. It will not see a hearing and it will not see a vote..
    Now lets find a cause that we can promote and win…this one is dead…

  35. It is time to stop playing their game of Coke vs. Pepsi. People don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils, they can vote for Ron Paul. “They” would have you believe that Ron Paul does not have a chance. People are waking up and seeing the scams created by the the establishment. Freedom, liberty, that can easily be packaged up and sold. Ron Paul could surprise everybody!
    Don’t be a TV News chump — Vote Ron Paul 2012!

  36. Is there a site for the US gov’t that people can comment on. They probably don’t have one because then they would have to listen(read) all the disgruntled people that post on sites like NORML and other pro-legalization websites. They don’t want to hear for us. They are afraid of us because we CAN take their power away.

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