DOJ To Federal Prosecutors: Do Not Focus Resources On Medical Marijuana

Washington, DC: United States Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a memorandum to federal prosecutors on Monday directing them to not “focus federal resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

The directive upholds a campaign promise by President Obama, who had previously pledged that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”

Commenting on the directive, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said: “We applaud the administration for discouraging the use of federal resources to improperly target and prosecute state-authorized medical marijuana patients and their providers. However, this directive ushers a change in policy rather than a change in law. A better solution would be for Congress to move expeditiously to pass House Bill 2835, The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009, which would ensure – once and for all – that medical cannabis patients in states that have approved its use will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from federal law enforcement agencies.”

Introduced in June, HB 2835 has 29 co-sponsors. The measure awaits action from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500. Additional information regarding HB 2835 is available online from NORML’s Take Action Center at: