October 19, 2009, Department of Justice Guidelines to Federal Prosecutors on Medical Marijuana in States that Have Legalized Its Use

Department of Justice Guidelines for Federal Prosecutors in States that Legalize 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. Those guidelines are contained in a memo from Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden.”  The following is the text of the Department of Justice  medical marijuana letter.

October 19,2009


FROM: David W. Ogden, Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Investigations and Prosecutions in States Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana

This memorandum provides clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana. These laws vary in their substantive provisions and in the extent of state regulatory oversight, both among the enacting States and among local jurisdictions within those States. Rather than developing different guidelines for every possible variant of state and local law, this memorandum provides uniform guidance to focus federal investigations and prosecutions in these States on core federal enforcement priorities. (more…)