When he was campaigning for President of the United States Barack Obama said to the Oregon Mail Tribune on March 22, 2008:

What I’m not going to be doing is using the Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state medical marijuana laws.”

On June 29, 2011, the President’s Justice Department sent a letter to all attorneys in the Justice Department that included this statement:

“Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law.”

What makes this broken promise especially bad is that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana.  See the ABC News story called “High Support for Medical Marijuana, which includes the results of an ABC poll released January of 2010 that found that 81% favored legalization.

Marijuana Policy Project Campaign

Today Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project sent an email with the subject “Betrayed.”  The text of his message is below.  If you oppose the Justice Department’s continued war on medical marijuana, you should click on the links in his message to voice your position to the powers that be.

Two days ago, without any public comment, President Obama broke the above campaign promise to medical marijuana patients when his Justice Department issued a new departmental policy for enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states with medical marijuana programs. Deputy Attorney General James Cole stated that while federal prosecutors should not go after sick and dying individuals, they may choose to prosecute businesses that provide marijuana to patients, even when the providers are abiding by state law.

To put it simply, this is absurd.

Please email the White House today, and ask the Obama administration to respect the rights of the states – and the needs of the patients – by leaving medical marijuana providers who act in compliance with state law alone.

Despite the memo’s claim to the contrary, it contradicts what had been official DOJ policy and flies in the face of numerous past statements by the president and his attorney general. In May 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder testified in Congress that “if the entity is, in fact, operating consistent with state law, and is not — does not have any of those factors involved that are contained in that
Deputy Attorney General memo, … [threatening to arrest the dispensary’s employees] would be inconsistent with what the policy is as we have set it out.”

Please tell the Obama administration that providing channels for patients to safely obtain their doctor-recommended medicine is a crucial component of workable medical marijuana laws. Then, please post this link to your Facebook or Twitter account. Without necessary medical marijuana providers, many patients may have to revert to buying marijuana from the criminal market.

Finally, if you were an Obama supporter in any capacity during his 2008 campaign, please call his 2012 campaign headquarters and demand that he keep his promise to medical marijuana patients.

Thank you kindly for supporting marijuana policy reform.


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project