Feds Will Back Off Medical Pot Operations

No more crackdowns on outlets that comply with state law

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 19, 2009 7:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Obama administration will stop cracking down on medical marijuana centers operating legally under state law, according to a new policy expected to be released today. The move is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which continued to bust such operations for breaking federal law. Under the new strategy, federal prosecutors will be told that legal action against such operations is not a good use of their time, reports AP, which was briefed about the change by federal officials.

Fourteen states currently allow distribution of medical marijuana, including California which has a large number of pot centers and even allows advertising for such operations. A three-page memo on the new policy is being sent today to federal prosecutors in the 14 states, and to officials at the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, sources said. "This moves the federal government dramatically toward respecting scientific and practical reality," said the head of a medical marijuana advocacy group.

Federal prosecutors will be told it's a waste of time to go after pot operations operating legally under state law.
Federal prosecutors will be told it's a waste of time to go after pot operations operating legally under state law.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
President Obama's administration is reversing course on Bush officials' crackdown on medical marijuana outlets, as long as they're operating legally under state law.
President Obama's administration is reversing course on Bush officials' crackdown on medical marijuana outlets, as long as they're operating legally under state law.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
These pot plants grown in Seattle supply medical marijuana to customers. The Obama administration has decided not to prosecute such operations as long as they conform to state law.
These pot plants grown in Seattle supply medical marijuana to customers. The Obama administration has decided not to prosecute such operations as long as they conform to state law.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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