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Recently Released Medical Marijuana Memo Contradicts Obama Administration’s Policy Not to Interfere with State Law

In contradiction of President Obama’s campaign promises to let states create their own policies regarding medical marijuana use, the Obama administration released a memo approving federal prosecution of anyone in the business of cultivating or supplying marijuana to patients, whether or not they comply with state law. The original guidelines that were set in October 2009 were put in place as a way to spare seriously ill patients and their caregivers from prosecution. However, the memo stated that these guidelines caused an increase in the commercial cultivation, sale, distribution and use of medical marijuana, in which many of these activities casts suspicion on whether it is truly for medical purposes. In the memo, Deputy Attorney General James Cole stated, “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.”

There have already been raids on suppliers in the 16 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law. Additionally, officials in 10 states have recently received warnings about possible prosecution if they authorized marijuana-selling dispensaries. These warnings have caused states, such as Washington and Rhode Island, to abandon plans that would legalize medical marijuana dispensaries. Other states, including Delaware and Vermont, have decided to continue in their efforts to legalize medical marijuana by approving a number or dispensaries for patients in need of the drug.

If you are a provider with questions regarding participation in the certification of patients for medical marijuana usage and compliance with state or federal law, including compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act or the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program, please contact at Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888.

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