Washington, DC: America’s next Attorney General should stop using federal justice powers and spending taxpayers’ dollars to arrest and prosecute individuals who are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup said today.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who announced his resignation on Monday, oversaw a record number of raids and federal prosecutions against state-authorized medical marijuana patients and providers. In July, federal agents raided more than a dozen locally authorized cannabis dispensaries in California and moved forward with separate federal prosecutions against several additional medi-pot providers.
“The resignation of Attorney General Gonzales provides the Bush Administration with an opportunity to rethink and revise their misguided policy against medical marijuana patients and providers in California and other states that have legalized the medical use of cannabis under state law,” Stroup said.
He added: “Eighty percent of the American public now support the rights of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when a physician recommends it, and a total of 12 states have now adopted medical use laws. It is time for President Bush and his next attorney general to accept the will of the American public, and to stop harassing seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana and those who care for them.”
Gonzales’ resignation will become effective September 17. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement will serve as acting attorney general until a successor is confirmed.
In contrast to Gonzales, all of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for President have pledged, if elected, to cease federal actions against state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives.
Nationally, total arrests for marijuana violations also rose dramatically under Gonzales’ tenure – hitting a record high of 786,545 in 2005, the last year for which data is available.
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, or Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.