In the last and one half year the federal government has made it clear to all but the blind that it intends to prevent the commercial growing and selling of medical marijuana in all fifty states.  The following is the text of a January 17, 2012, letter from the DEA to the Board of Clark County Commissioners that states that Clark County employees and the members of the Board of Commissioners could be prosecuted for assisting a medical marijuana program.

JAN 1 7 2012

Tom Mielke
Marc Boldt
Steve Stuart
Board of Clark County Commissioners
1300 Franklin Street
P.O. Box 5000
Vancouver, Washington 98666-5000

SUBJECT: Application of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to the Board of Clark County Commissioners and Clark County Employees

Dear Messrs. Mielke, Boldt, and Stuart:

Thank you for your December 2, 2011 letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder which was referred to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for a response.

The Department of Justice has stated that Congress has determined that marijuana is schedule I controlled substance and, as such, growing, distributing, and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities. This is reflected in the text of the CSA and the decisions of the United States Supreme Court in United Stales v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative, 532 U.S. 483 (2001), and Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. l (2005). These federal law concepts are premised on the facts that marijuana has never been demonstrated in sound scientific studies to be safe and effective for the treatment of any disease or condition and, therefore, the Food and Drug Administration has never approved marijuana as a drug. As the Supreme Court stated, “for purposes of the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana has ‘no currently accepted medical use’ at all” Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative. 532 US. at 491.

In your correspondence to the Attorney General you quote from an April 14, 2011 letter written to the Honorable Christine Gregoire, Washington State Governor by the U.S. Attorneys for both the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington in which they say that “state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington [medical marijuana] legislative proposals would not be immune from liability under the CSA.”  Although that letter pertained to the Washington state medical marijuana law and Washington state employees, the principles expressed in that letter are useful in addressing any county “medical marijuana” ordinance or provision implementing state law. As that letter indicated. anyone who knowingly carries out the marijuana activities contemplated by Washington state law, as well as anyone who facilitates such activities, or conspires to commit such violations, is subject to criminal prosecution as provided in the CSA. That same conclusion would apply with equal force to the proposed activities of the Board of Clark County Commissioners and Clark County employees.

Such persons may also be subject to money laundering statutes.  In addition, the CSA provides for forfeiture of real property and other tangible property used to facilitate the commission of such crimes, as well as the forfeiture of all money derived from, or traceable to such activity.

Thank you for your inquiry regarding this important matter.


Joseph T. Rannazzisi
Deputy Assistant Administrator
Office of Diversion Control

Emphasis added.