Medical Marijuana Memo

DOJ Says Prosecuting State-Authorized Medical Marijuana Suppliers Is ‘Entirely Consistent’ With Not Prosecuting Them

By Jacob Sullum

As Mike Riggs noted on Thursday night, the Justice Department’s new medical marijuana memo (, PDF), confirms that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are reneging on their promises to respect state law. Under the policy described by Deputy Attorney General James Cole on Wednesday, “commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana” are fair game, even when they are explicitly authorized by state law. By contrast, in his October 2009 memo (PDF) to U.S. attorneys, Cole’s predecessor, David Ogden, instructed them that they “should 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.”