DEA Position on Marijuana
If you want to know where the Drug Enforcement Agency stands on marijuana, including medical marijuana, read this July 2010 report from the DEA. What follows is from the opening paragraphs of the report.
THE DEA POSITION ON MARIJUANA
The campaign to legitimize what is called ―medical‖ marijuana is based on two propositions: first, that science views marijuana as medicine; and second, that the DEA targets sick and dying people using the drug. Neither proposition is true. Specifically, smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science–it is not medicine, and it is not safe. Moreover, the DEA targets criminals engaged in the cultivation and trafficking of marijuana, not the sick and dying. This is true even in the 14 states that have approved the use of ―medical‖ marijuana.
On October 19, 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The guidelines, as set forth in a memorandum from Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, makes clear that the focus of federal resources should not be on individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws, and underscores that the Department will continue to prosecute people whose claims of compliance with state and local law conceal operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of the law. He also reiterated that the Department of Justice is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all states and that this guidance does not ―legalize‖ marijuana or provide for legal defense to a violation of federal law.2 While some people have interpreted these guidelines to mean that the federal government has relaxed its policy on ―medical‖ marijuana, this in fact is not the case. Investigations and prosecutions of violations of state and federal law will continue. These are the guidelines DEA has and will continue to follow.
THE FALLACY OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICINAL USE
SMOKED MARIJUANA IS NOT MEDICINE
There is no sound scientific evidence that smoked marijuana can be used safely and effectively as medicine. Congress enacted laws against marijuana in 1970 based in part on its conclusion that marijuana has no scientifically proven medical value. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency responsible for approving drugs as safe and effective medicine based on valid scientific data. The FDA has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease. The FDA noted that ―there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful, and ―that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use.