Incoming US Attorney for Northern California Joseph Russoniello held his first press briefing January 31, and during that briefing, he suggested that raiding and prosecuting medical marijuana providers is a waste of resources. That's a bit of a surprise, given Russoniello's history as a hard-line Republican prosecutor, but could augur a new day in Northern California.
Whether Russoniello's words will translate into policy changes in his office remains to be seen, but they could be a harbinger of things to come. Both Democratic presidential contenders have said they would halt the DEA raids on dispensaries in California, so his office could have few medical marijuana cases to prosecute in any case.
Russoniello has other, higher priorities, including gun crimes, hard drugs, gangs, and child pornography, he said. "Guns which are a scourge to communities, which combined with the twin poisons of gangs and drugs are literally enslaving whole neighborhoods," he said.
Russionello took over as US Attorney for Northern California early last month. He also spent eight years in that position under President Reagan in the 1980s.