Monday, October 19, 2009
The Department of Justice has announced a new policy regarding federal prosecutions of the use of marijuana permitted under state law for medical reasons.
In a memo released today to federal prosecutors, David W. Ogden, Deputy Attorney General, states:
The prosecution of significant traffickers of illegal drugs, including marijuana, and the disruption of illegal drug manufacturing and trafficking networks continues to be a core priority in the Department’s efforts against narcotics and dangerous drugs, and the Department’s investigative and prosecutorial resources should be directed towards these objectives. As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.
This memo solidifies Attorney General Holder's statements we discussed last February that prosecutions of the use of medical marijuana would not be a priority in the new Administration.
There is also a continuing discussion - - - although apparently not in the current DOJ - - - regarding the decriminalization of marijuana, including substantive due process arguments.