Prosecution of legalized medical marijuana users discouraged by Attorney General

In a move long-hoped-for by medical marijuana proponents, the U.S. Attorney General's office has issued guidelines that officially discourage federal prosecutors from pursuing individuals whose medical marijuana usage complies with existing state laws. In so doing, the AG undoes years of previous administration policy, under which federal agents prosecuted individual users or medical marijuana sellers despite their being in compliance with state laws.

The guidelines, announced this week by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, stress that the feds will still go after individuals whose activities suggest that they're trying to disguise drug trafficking under the cloak of medical marijuana use or sale. Triggers for potential federal interest could include unlawful use of firearms, violence, money laundering, having amounts of marijuana on hand that don't seem to comply with state and local law, or having ties to criminal enterprises.

The guidelines should have broad impact, as fourteen states have enacted laws that allow for some form of medical marijuana use.

To learn more about the new policy:
- read the U.S. DoJ press release
- read the AG's guidelines here

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