Obama's Medical Marijuana Policy Issued

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New Medical Marijuana Policy Issued
By DEVLIN BARRETT, AP
WASHINGTON (Oct. 19) - Pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers should not be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow medical marijuana, prosecutors were told Monday in a new policy memo issued by the Justice Department.
Under the policy spelled out in a three-page legal memo, federal prosecutors are being told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.
http://news.aol.com/article/new-med...m/article/new-medical-marijuana-policy/445182
 

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  • #4
Office_Shredder
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It makes sense. There are a number of states where people acquire marijuana for medical purposes under controlled circumstances (regulated by the state). The fear of a federal crackdown is a bit much to put someone who already has medical problems through; obviously this isn't the best solution but until something more permanent can be followed through on it's a good band-aid approach. I'm surprised it took this long to happen

mheslep, federal agencies only have limited resources. Should they go after people who are criminals basically on a technicality? I would hope they have bigger fish to fry
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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mheslep, federal agencies only have limited resources. Should they go after people who are criminals basically on a technicality? I would hope they have bigger fish to fry
What are you talking about? What technicality? Bigger fish? None of that bears any relation to what mheslep said. Mheslep provided no opinion about medical marijuana, only a complaint about the Obama administration not properly utilizing the functioning of government to make/repeal/enforce laws.

Anyway, I agree with him: if a law is on the books, it must be enforced. If a law is wrong, it should be challenged in the courts or repealed via the proper process. To order prosecutors not to do their jobs is unconstitutional.
 
  • #6
mheslep
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What are you talking about? What technicality? Bigger fish? None of that bears any relation to what mheslep said. Mheslep provided no opinion about medical marijuana, only a complaint about the Obama administration not properly utilizing the functioning of government to make/repeal/enforce laws.

Anyway, I agree with him: if a law is on the books, it must be enforced. If a law is wrong, it should be challenged in the courts or repealed via the proper process. To order prosecutors not to do their jobs is unconstitutional.
In addition to undermining the respect for the law, this action undermines the opportunity to properly regulate the sale of this narcotic, as there would be if the law was properly repealed. As it is, one can search the FDA on aspirin and get a mountain of recommendations, but for the narcotic marijuana on the FDA we get zip. Edit: scratch that, there is plenty of home drug test information!
 
  • #7
Hepth
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Legally, pot isn't a narcotic.

While I wouldn't call it a technicality, I would call it a dilemma. Right now, (i dont know) what happens when:
A) A state creates a law in direct conflict with a preexisting Federal law.
B) A Federal law is created that is in direct conflict with a preexisting state law.

Does the Federal Law take precedence? In both cases? Can a state prosecute someone for something that, while a federal law grants the right, a state law removes it?

Is there a machine in place to reconcile conflicting state and federal laws?
 
  • #8
Hepth
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Anyway, I agree with him: if a law is on the books, it must be enforced. If a law is wrong, it should be challenged in the courts or repealed via the proper process. To order prosecutors not to do their jobs is unconstitutional.
That's another issue I wonder about. If a law on the books is in the process of being repealed, do they suspend the prosecution of said law breakers? Do you keep prosecuting and if the law is repealed, just void their sentences/punishment? Is it retroactive for everyone? Whats the precedence in this?

My opinion would be to prosecute all law violations currently on the books. Whether or not it may be legal tomorrow does not influence its illegality today, and as such you should be prosecuted for today's actions, under today's laws.
 
  • #9
chroot
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I suspect it's being done to set up a precedent (look, the DEA stopped prosecuting medical marijuana users, and nothing bad happened) so that later full-legalization legislature will be easier to pass.

I don't think it's a waste of anyone's time for Obama to tell his federal employees to respect state laws. In my opinion, state laws should override federal laws in all circumstances where they conflict. Maybe Obama agrees.

- Warren
 
  • #10
lisab
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I suspect it's being done to set up a precedent (look, the DEA stopped prosecuting medical marijuana users, and nothing bad happened) so that later full-legalization legislature will be easier to pass.

I don't think it's a waste of anyone's time for Obama to tell his federal employees to respect state laws. In my opinion, state laws should override federal laws in all circumstances where they conflict. Maybe Obama agrees.

- Warren
I have to take issue with the second part of your statement (bolded). If that were the case, we might still have slavery in most of the South. I seriously doubt Obama would agree with that policy.

However, the first part I agree with. (Caveat: I have to admit, I don't pay much attention to drug laws/enforcement issues...it's all well off my radar screen.) Perhaps this is a step in the direction of re-thinking the war on drugs?
 
  • #11
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I suspect it's being done to set up a precedent (look, the DEA stopped prosecuting medical marijuana users, and nothing bad happened) so that later full-legalization legislature will be easier to pass.

I don't think it's a waste of anyone's time for Obama to tell his federal employees to respect state laws. In my opinion, state laws should override federal laws in all circumstances where they conflict. Maybe Obama agrees.

- Warren
That's primarily what I was getting out of it. This could make for some very interesting cases in the future. If one state decided to fully legalize it for general use, same as alcohol, this administration wouldn't pursue legal action under the federal statute.
 
  • #12
Al68
That's a mistake imo. They should repeal or override the law if they see fit, not refuse to enforce it, or any other law.
They should just enforce it legally, ie only in the cases where there is federal jurisdiction in the matter like D.C., military bases, crossing state lines, etc.

There is no need to repeal the law, any more than the State of Alabama would need to repeal their laws because they don't enforce then in Georgia. Any law is only valid where it has jurisdiction.

Declining to enforce federal laws where there is no constitutional federal jurisdiction should be the standard, not the rare exception.
 
  • #13
Al68
Anyway, I agree with him: if a law is on the books, it must be enforced. If a law is wrong, it should be challenged in the courts or repealed via the proper process. To order prosecutors not to do their jobs is unconstitutional.
Can you reference the specific part of the constitution? I can't seem to find it. And my dislike for Obama had me looking pretty hard.
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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Does the Federal Law take precedence? In both cases?
Yes.
Can a state prosecute someone for something that, while a federal law grants the right, a state law removes it?
No.
Is there a machine in place to reconcile conflicting state and federal laws?
Yes: the USSC.
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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Can you reference the specific part of the constitution? I can't seem to find it. And my dislike for Obama had me looking pretty hard.
Article 1, Section 1.
 
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  • #16
dx
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If a law is wrong, it should be challenged in the courts or repealed via the proper process. To order prosecutors not to do their jobs is unconstitutional.
The problem is that it is not easy to repeal this particular law due to the huge propoganda and brainwashing campaigns that have been going on for decades. This damage must be undone of course, and it may take a while, but there is no reason for medical marijuana users to suffer in the meantime.
 
  • #17
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The problem is that it is not easy to repeal this particular law due to the huge propoganda and brainwashing campaigns that have been going on for decades.
Yes, but this is the democratic process. Having one man decide what laws will and will not be executed puts his decision above those of the people who elected him. Historically, even when started with the best of intentions, it seldom ends well.
 
  • #18
dx
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I don't think its fair to say that he is putting his decision above others. The support for legalization of medical marijuana is close to 50% (and 70% among liberals). Also keep in mind that all the policy does is to advise the feds that it is not the best use of their resources. The law will still be enforced; only the focus of the enforcement will change.
 
  • #19
russ_watters
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The problem is that it is not easy to repeal this particular law due to the huge propoganda and brainwashing campaigns that have been going on for decades. This damage must be undone of course, and it may take a while, but there is no reason for medical marijuana users to suffer in the meantime.
In no country ruled by law is such s position acceptable. You advocate a decent into anarchy.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
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I don't think its fair to say that he is putting his decision above others. The support for legalization of medical marijuana is close to 50% (and 70% among liberals). Also keep in mind that all the policy does is to advise the feds that it is not the best use of their resources. The law will still be enforced; only the focus of the enforcement will change.
What popularity fraction do you consider sufficient to allow a leader to disregard the constitutional process?

Also, just to be clear, this is just about MEDICINAL marijuana, right? You would support regulation of it on a similar level as tylenol, right?
 
  • #21
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In no country ruled by law is such s position acceptable. You advocate a decent into anarchy.
Actually, I think it's a descent into dictatorship. One person decides which laws are fair and just and which ones aren't.

This has been tried before, and like I said, it seldom ends well. (To connect it to science, this is what killed Antoine Lavoisier)

I don't think its fair to say that he is putting his decision above others. The support for legalization of medical marijuana is close to 50% (and 70% among liberals).
The US system, as I understand it, decides what is law and what is not via Congress, not via opinion polls. And certainly not via opinion polls among only liberals.
 
  • #22
dx
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What popularity fraction do you consider sufficient to allow a leader to disregard the constitutional process?
Since you bring up constitution so much, can you tell me which part of the constitution allows there to be laws against people growing or possessing plants? It can be argued that the law against possession of marijuana itself is unconstitutional.

Also, just to be clear, this is just about MEDICINAL marijuana, right? You would support regulation of it on a similar level as tylenol, right?
Personally, I support legalization (not only for medicinal purposes), and regulation of it on a similar level as tobacco and alcohol. I don't know if that was the question though.
 
  • #23
dx
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The US system, as I understand it, decides what is law and what is not via Congress, not via opinion polls. And certainly not via opinion polls among only liberals.
Just to be clear, I am not advocating breaking existing laws. What Obama has done does not break any law as far as I am aware.
 
  • #24
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Since you bring up constitution so much, can you tell me which part of the constitution allows there to be laws against people growing or possessing plants?
The Commerce Clause.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating breaking existing laws. What Obama has done does not break any law as far as I am aware.
No, but you are arguing that he should be allowed to pick and choose what laws he will enforce and what laws he will not.
 
  • #25
dx
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I assume you're talking about the Gonzales v. Raich case. Don't you think its a little weird that they have to resort to the commerce clause to justify a drug law? It seems pretty clear that it is a desperate attempt to ban marijuana on some obscure technicality or vagueness in the constitution. Here is what Supreme court justice Clarence Thomas said:

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything – and the federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers

If I were an American, this is the kind of thing I would be worried about. It seems way more dictatorship-like than what Obama is doing.
 
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