Monday, October 19, 2009

Victory for Common Sense, defeat for the DEA

by Becky Johnson
October 19, 2009

Santa Cruz, CA. -- They're cheering in Mudville today! President Barack Obama's campaign promise has been delivered with the statement this morning from Federal Attorney General, Eric Holder, that the FBI and the DEA will no longer interfere with patients, their care-givers, or dispensaries which are not breaking any State law in states in which marijuana for medical uses has been legalised. Below is the letter I received this morning from Rob Kampia, the Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project which has been following legislation regarding marijuana use. In Santa Cruz County, any bona fide medical marijuana patient can grow up to 100 square feet of canopy, and possess up to three pounds of dried, cured marijuana flowers-- the part of the plant that is considered medicinal. This is a sea tide change in policy for the Federal Government which will have far-reaching ramifications most of which are positive. Congratulations to President Obama for delivering on this campaign promise which will provide tremendous widespread relief for patients suffering from pain, tremors, glaucoma, cataracts, cancer, and seizures. This ruling now allows the City of Santa Cruz to go ahead and provide services under the Compassionate Use Act which they passed a few years ago.


Dear Becky Johnson:

Ready for some great news?

The Obama administration is directing federal prosecutors not

to arrest medical marijuana patients and caregivers who are

complying with state laws.

On Monday, federal prosecutors, as well as top officials at the

FBI and DEA, will reportedly be told that it isn’t a good use of

their time to arrest people who use or provide medical

marijuana, if they are complying with state law. This is the most

significant, positive policy development on the federal level for

medical marijuana since 1978.

Under the Bush administration, the feds had continued to raid,

arrest, and otherwise terrorize medical marijuana and their

caregivers in the 13 states that have passed medical marijuana

laws. This new policy is a major change.

MPP was instrumental in obtaining a promise from President

Obama during the presidential campaign that, if elected, he

would halt these arrests. MPP was the only reform organization

to testify on Capitol Hill urging the issuance of the guidelines

and, later, was the only group to work with leaders in Congress

to get a House committee to urge the administration to adopt the

written guidelines. Our lobbyists have also been in contact with

top officials at the Justice Department about the guidelines.

(In fact, you can watch a one-minute video clip of Obama

responding to one of our campaign volunteers in New Hampshire

on August 21, 2007, in the heat of the presidential primary campaign

here, and a clip of MPP's lobbyist following his testimony on the Hill here.)

We're thrilled to see this promise come to fruition, and I hope you’ll

join me in celebrating this news -- some of the best we’ve had for

medical marijuana patients in years.

Thank you for helping to make this momentous change happen.

And if you’d like to help keep pushing, please:

1. Use MPP's easy online action center to tell your members of

Congress that you support this new policy.

2. Donate to MPP’s federal lobbying work here.


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major

philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.35

million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet

in 2009. This means that your donation today will be


P.P.S. You can opt out of receiving fundraising

mentions in the e-mail alerts I send you in 2009

by visiting

at your convenience.

We are required by federal law to tell you that any donations you make to MPP may be used for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates for federal office.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, while this makes a nice fund-raising letter for MPP, it omits some key facts.

    The Obama administration has been both busting and prosecuting medical marijuana growers and distributors as recently as several months ago. (In September, feds and local authorities raided 14 dispensaries in San Diego County and shut them down.)

    Holder made a similar statement about backing off back in February or March (which the Santa Cruz City Council then used to justify a six month freeze on new medical marijuana dispensaries and all growhouses).

    The Obama administration is full of rotund rhetoric--as it escalates its foreign wars and occupation.

    Note that the policy does not prohibit prosecution of medical marijuana use in states that have legalized it, but instead gives broad discretion to federal attorneys. Michelle Malkin suggests this is the same policy as Bush's (

    More encouraging is the court decision yesterday blocking the L.A. City Council's 2007 freeze on new medical marijuana dispensaries.

    Brian Epsis, 2 years into a 10-year federal prison term for medical marijuana use in 1997, is still fighting for his freedom.



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