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Congress Calls on DOJ to Better Explain Medical Marijuana Policy

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Via Ben Morris at MPP:

The House committee that oversees the Department of Justice (DOJ) passed an amendment today that adds language to the committee’s report urging the DOJ to clarify its position on state-legal medical marijuana. The provision is a non-binding recommendation, but carries weight given the committee’s role in funding the department.

The language, sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), states, “There have been conflicting public reports about the Department’s [DOJ] enforcement of medical marijuana policies. Within 60 days of enactment, the Department shall provide to the Committee clarification of the Department’s policy regarding enforcement of federal laws and use of federal resources against individuals involved in medical marijuana activities.”

Although federal interference with state medical marijuana laws has been sparse since Obama took office, we have seen evidence of a potential loophole in the attorney general's pledge to respect state laws. As long as charges are brought in federal and not state court, there exists no mechanism for determining that state laws were ever violated, thus DEA could theoretically raid legitimate dispensaries based on unverified claims that local laws were being broken.

That's why Hinchey's effort to ensure accountability is so important. Although public outrage has been a powerful force towards pushing federal medical marijuana policy in a more reasonable direction, we simply cannot count on DEA to execute the new policy in good faith. The more pressure that's applied early on, the better our chance of ensuring that the worst excesses of the war on medical marijuana are behind us.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Hundreds of people have sent

Hundreds of people have sent letters to Congress and written countless comments in Newspapers and Blogs about the Secret Policy of the DEA. Since Eric Holder announced the new policy he has refused to put it in writing. By putting the policy in writing everyone would then be able to know exactly what the rules are. When Federal Judge Wu asked Eric Holder for a copy of the new policy in writing his request was refused. How does a Federal Judge pass sentence when he doesn't know what the laws are ? What this request by Congress does is force the DOJ and DEA to make the rules plain and to follow them in the same way as everyone else.

Sen. Maria Cantewell is still stuck in the past

At least once a week I email both Senators for my state and my district's congressman on the issue of the "war on (some) drugs". I seldom recieve a response even tho I specifically ask for one. I did receive this response from Ms. Cantwell today:

Thank you for contacting me to express your ideas about decriminalizing marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

While a review of federal drug laws may be warranted in order to determine whether there is any truth to the claim about the palliative effects of marijuana, particularly for terminally ill individuals, I do not support the outright legalization of marijuana. Long-term scientific studies conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse have shown that marijuana use may lead to use of other more serious types of drugs. For example, the risk of using cocaine is 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it. Using marijuana puts young people in contact with users and sellers of other drugs, thereby increasing the chances that a marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more addictive drugs. Therefore, I believe that instead of legalizing marijuana, Congress should explore mechanisms to direct more government resources to treatment of substance abuse and prevention efforts that will break the cycle of drugs and violence.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington state residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington State. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

She's still spouting the debunked "gateway" crap, in spite of the fact I've been sending tons of info showing such thinking is incorrect.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

DOJ Policy

This really is a big step in the right direction. It will certainly make for interesting reading !

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