Medical Marijuana Laws Loosen Up

Melanie Rovinsky

Medical marijuana users and suppliers are no longer subject to arrest if they are complying with state laws, new federal policy states.

According to U.S. Justice Department officials, prosecutors’ time is being wasted worrying about individuals who are essentially following state laws. The new policy will give prosecutors the opportunity to choose which medical marijuana cases they pursue.

The use and distribution of medical marijuana is legal (in some respect) in 14 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The remaining 36 states will continue with their current policies regarding medical marijuana.

A federal memo issued in the above mentioned states told prosecutors not to “focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” The memo stresses the importance of continuing to go after individuals who are using medical marijuana as a cover for other drug trafficking.

Passed by the Obama administration, this law is a clear deviation from former Bush policies which, according to The Associated Press, enforced federal anti-marijuana laws regardless of state codes.