Attorney General Defends Medical Marijuana Crackdown
|What On Earth?|
|U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claims the Obama Administration is only going after those who are “taking advantage” and “acting out of conformity … with state laws”|
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the Department of Justice’s crackdown on medical marijuana, claiming growers and dispensaries “took advantage” of state medical marijuana laws.
Holder, appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, admitted that the Obama Justice Department had broken with the Bush Administration in pledging not to go after anyone acting within state medicinal cannabis laws, reports Dan Freedman of the Hearst Washington Bureau.
But those involved in “large-scale” marijuana growing and sales have “come up with ways in which they are taking advantage of these state laws and going beyond that which the states have authorized,” Holder claimed in response to questions from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
“Those are the only cases we have been going after,” Holder claimed, saying the DOJ has limited its enforcement actions “to those individuals (and) organizations that are acting out of conformity… with state laws.”
Rep. Nadler pointed out that as a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised that he would use “Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”
But federal agents have conducted about 200 raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers since 2009, bringing more than 60 indictments, according to Nadler.
The brunt of the federal crackdown has come in California, although raids have also been conducted in Washington, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, and other medical marijuana states. Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia now allow medicinal cannabis.
Medical marijuana advocates have accused the Obama Administration of dishonesty in its “evolving” policy positions.