Holder to end medical marijuana raids

HOLDER TO END MEDICAL MARIJUANA RAIDS…. Just two days after President Obama’s inauguration, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a medical marijuana dispensary in northern California. The move was at odds with Obama’s policy, at least as it was articulated during the campaign.

Today, we received some welcome clarification.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference Wednesday that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana clubs that are established legally under state law. His declaration is a fulfillment of a campaign promise by President Barack Obama, and marks a major shift from the previous administration.

After the inauguration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continued to carry out such raids, despite Obama’s promise. Holder was asked if those raids represented American policy going forward.

“No,” he said. “What the president said during the campaign, you’ll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we’ll be doing in law enforcement. He was my boss during the campaign. He is formally and technically and by law my boss now. What he said during the campaign is now American policy.”

My friend Alex Koppelman adds some helpful context:

It’s a common misperception that, in states like California which have passed measures legalizing it, medical marijuana is completely legal. It’s not. Federal law takes precedence, and federal authorities have made no secret of their belief that any user or distributor — even one authorized by the state — can be arrested at any time.

That’s been the policy for the last three administrations. Not anymore.