Feds Raids on Medical Pot Outlets May End
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2009 at 20:40:14 PT
By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco, CA -- Attorney General Eric Holder is giving strong signals that President Obama - who as a candidate called for letting states make their own rules on medical marijuana - will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.
Asked at a Washington, D.C., news conference Wednesday about Drug Enforcement Administration raids in California since Obama took office last month, Holder said the administration has changed its policy.
"What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."
Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group, said the statement was encouraging.
"I think it definitely signals that Obama is moving in a new direction, that it means what he said on the campaign trail that marijuana should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue," he said.
Piper said Obama has also indicated he will drop the federal government's long-standing opposition to health officials' needle-exchange programs for drug users.
During one campaign appearance, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He told an interviewer in March 2008 that it was "entirely appropriate" for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, "with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors."
After the DEA raided a marijuana dispensary at South Lake Tahoe on Jan. 22, two days after Obama's inauguration, and four others in the Los Angeles area on Feb. 2, White House spokesman Nick Schapiro responded to advocacy groups' protests by noting that Obama had not yet appointed his drug policy team.
"The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws" and expects his appointees to follow that policy, Schapiro said.
Complete Article: http://drugsense.org/url/5KO5SpQ6
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Author: Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, February 26, 2009
Copyright: 2009 San Francisco Chronicle
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