Attorney General Eric Holder is set to “clarify” his department’s stance on state medical marijuana laws in light of an increasing number of raids and threats against patients, caregivers and even state employees.
Shortly after President Obama took office in 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder issued his now infamous “Ogden memo.” In this memo, Holder ordered US Attorneys General to stop federal prosecutions of patients and caregivers in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.
But in recent months, these same US AG’s have unleashed an intense campaign of violence and intimidation on patients and caregivers. It seems as though, despite Holder’s clear directive two years ago, federal prosecutors are either confused about the department’s stance or have gone completely rogue.
The stories won’t stop piling up: the 26 year old Iraq War veteran gunned down by a SWAT team in Arizona during a botched raid in which no illegal evidence was uncovered; 28 raids in under 24 hours across Montana and California, crippling businesses and putting patients’ health and well-being in danger; threats to prosecute state employees for doing their jobs and implementing state law; and on, and on, and on.
These unfortunate events have begun to have a chilling effect on marijuana reform. In Washington, Governor Chris Gregoir has vetoed a bill for medical marijuana dispensaries, and in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie is refusing to implement his state’s medical marijuana law — all due to the kinds of threats and intimidation coming from US Attorneys General.
But Holder’s silence surrounding these events has raised some alarming questions. Does Holder lack control over his prosecutors? Or is he quietly supporting their militant campaigns from the sidelines?
Hopefully, those questions will be answered as Holder is set to “clarify” his department’s stance on state medical marijuana laws as soon as today. Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Jared Polis have sent a letter urging the administration to respect state medical marijuana laws and stick to the language and intent of their 2009 memo.
Stay tuned for more information on AG Holder’s statement, possibly later this afternoon.