Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jun 2012
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Dan Freedman


Washington -- Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the 
Justice Department's pursuit of medical marijuana growers and 
dispensers, saying they "took advantage" of state medical marijuana laws.

Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder acknowledged 
the Justice Department had broken with the Bush administration and 
pledged not to go after anyone acting within state law.

Nevertheless, those involved in large-scale marijuana growing and 
distribution have "come up with ways in which they are taking 
advantage of these state laws and going beyond that which the states 
have authorized," Holder said in response to questions from Rep. 
Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. "Those are the only cases that we have been 
going after."

Nadler pointed out that as a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack 
Obama had promised that he wouldn't use "Justice Department resources 
to try to circumvent state laws on this issue."

But since 2009, federal agents and prosecutors have conducted about 
200 raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers and brought 
more than 60 indictments, Nadler said.

Much of the federal crackdown has taken place in California, one of 
17 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have medical marijuana 
laws on the books. Medical marijuana advocates in California have 
accused the Obama administration of duplicity in its evolving policy positions.

But Holder insisted the Justice Department has limited its 
enforcement actions "to those individuals (and) organizations that 
are acting out of conformity ... with state laws."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom