In a new cover story for Rolling Stone, President Obama spoke about the recent string of raids on medical marijuana facilities, including the recent raid on Oaksterdam, that seems to negate his previous comments on the subject while running for office in 2008. As you may remember, President Obama was quoted as saying “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws [on medical marijuana].”
Obama offered the following comments to clarify his position as he begins his campaign for a second term this year:
“What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.
I can’t nullify congressional law. I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’ As a consequence, there haven’t been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Huffington Post points out that while Obama seems to believe that his actions are not conflicting with prior statements, lawmakers in five states disagree and have written letters calling out the president’s contradiction with his previous statements and their states’ rights to run their own medical marijuana program.
Is President Obama to blame for the recent crackdown on medical marijuana?