As many expected, the Department of Justice released a memo today backtracking from the “Ogden Memo” of two years ago, saying the intent of the 2009 memo was not to shield cultivation, sale and distribution from federal prosecution, even if it complied with state law.

Earlier tonight Tom Angell from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition sent out an email containing the new Justice Department Memo, which you can read below.

June 29, 2011


FROM: James M. Cole Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Guidance Regarding the Ogden Memo in Jurisdictions Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use

Over the last several months some of you have requested the Department’s assistance in responding to inquiries from State and local governments seeking guidance about the Department’s position on enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in jurisdictions that have under consideration, or have implemented, legislation that would sanction and regulate the commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana purportedly for medical use. Some of these jurisdictions have considered approving the cultivation of large quantities of marijuana, or broadening the regulation and taxation of the substance. You may have seen letters responding to these inquiries by several United States Attorneys. Those letters are entirely consistent with the October 2009 memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use o f marijuana (the “Ogden Memo”).

The Department of Justice is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale o f marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source o f revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. The Ogden Memorandum provides guidance to you in deploying your resources to enforce the CSA as part of the exercise of the broad discretion you are given to address federal criminal matters within your districts.

A number of states have enacted some form of legislation relating to the medical use of marijuana. Accordingly,the Ogden Memo reiterated to you that prosecution of significant traffickers of illegal drugs, including marijuana, remains a core priority, but advised that it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers. The term “caregiver” as used in the memorandum meant just that: individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana.

The Department’s view of the efficient use of limited federal resources as articulated in the Ogden Memorandum has not changed. There has, however, been an increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana for purported medical purposes. For example, within the past 12 months, several jurisdictions have considered or enacted legislation to authorize multiple large-scale, privately-operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers. Some of these planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars based on the planned cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants.

The Ogden Memorandum was never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law. Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. Consistent with resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution. State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil or criminal enforcement of federal law with respect to such conduct, including enforcement of the CSA. Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financial laws.

The Department of Justice is tasked with enforcing existing federal criminal laws in all states, and enforcement of the CSA has long been and remains a core priority.

cc: Lanny A. Breuer Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division
B. Todd Jones United States Attorney District of Minnesota Chair, AGAC
Michele M. Leonhart Administrator Drug Enforcement Administration
H. Marshall Jarrett Director Executive Office for United States Attorneys
Kevin L. Perkins Assistant Director Criminal Investigative Division Federal Bureau of Investigations

In other words, the federal government has free reign when it comes to overriding state law and going after medical marijuana. Those in the medical marijuana industry had better brace themselves, the DEA has absolutely nothing holding them back.

Joe Klare

4 Responses

  1. DANIEL_7322

    Large scale production of Cannabis for large profits and that continue to assist in sustaining inflated prohibition pricing of cannabis should probably go. Be happy with cultivating for personal use or to help the needy. Only when you do the right thing can you get passed stoned and truely be HIGH. Cannabis needs to be restored to its humble stature as a truely amazing friend.

  2. clarify

    “remains a core priority, but advised that it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers.”
    Well right there is your defense for breaking the poorly designed drug schedule, if you have cancer or other serious illness.. USA does not have enough money to punish the sick and dying. Wonder why they never provided a list of what the feds consider serious?

  3. Humboldt Relief

    Gotta love a “clarification” over two years in the making. In a way I’m kind of glad the DOJ issued this statement. To me this signifies that the Obama administration is NOT going to bother pandering to the medical marijuana community anymore. They don’t even want our votes, much less our tax revenue. At least now we know where we stand.

  4. Charles Queen

    Obooboo was the one who made the staement that staes that have legalized medicinal marijuana were to be “hands off”by the DEA and other agency’s.Although they totaly blew him off even though over all he is the main boss when it comes right down to it.He never once chastised any of them for not fllowing his orders so that pretrty much tells you what they all think of him>He’s a spineless two faced liar to be frank about it all and lacks the leadership skills,experience and or knowledge it takes to even run this country as a president.His being elected was nothing more than a very carefully orchestrated doings with certain people of power allowing him to be nominated to even run for the office much less being elected.There were many afro-americans that did have exacly what it tkes to b a prsident of our country yet they either were passed over or turned down any chnace to run or even be nominated.Things like this tell’s you that his being nominated and elected was a farce per say.His many promises that he never came thu on not even one of wer e many needless to say.Now he thinks he can pander to the hispanics,afro americans and a couple of other so called minority’s again so he can be re-elected but this time none of it is working for him>teh exact same people he pandered and lied to with the many promises are not buying into it agai this time especialy his own race whatever that is considering he is not a pure afro-american by no means.Hopefu;;y we will get what the peole are wanting this time which is a moderate conservative with a liberal running mate.This time this is what the people want especialy the middle and lower c;asses or the ones that really matter.If this happens the way the experts predict it will a well as certain senators and congress peoples from both sides are also predictin and do know that this is what the masses are wanting this time around.This could finally be the time fo them to legalize marijuana not only for medicinal use but.I mean you have to admit that it really is one of the most intelligent and logical things our government can do at this point in time.Many in washington have been watching country’s thruout the world that have already legalized marijuana for adult use and the ones that are getting ready to do so.I believe that many of our lawmakers are finally getting fed up with the wasteing of mega billions every year in a vain attempt to prevent it from being grown and used here.They also see it as a major way of saing billions a year in prison and jail time for those who do nothing more than use it,this doesnt include growres and dealers.They see how badly all of this wasted money is needed and an be used for much more imporatant and constuctive things.They also have seen how in the country’s that have legalized it are in fact mking a killing literaly from the treamendous amount of tax rvenues it generates which here was estimated on the conservative side so in fact it would being in a whole lot more than orginaly estimated.They see it a a toll to stop dwindling s.s. funds,no more cuts inmedicare/aide,Wiping out the federal deficit within around 2 eyars give or take 6 or so omore months.They see every single state in the country being able to put their economy’s back into the blakc once again.The jobs it would generate not only in the marijuana field per say but allwoing people to once again have access to the funds to start small buisnesses which hasn’t happend in a long time to date.They also see it as a toll that which has been proven to stop a lot of drug related crimes as well as a huge drop in the numbers of teens using it as well.They see all this happneing in the country’s that have laready legalized it and they know our country and it’s peole are in fact no diferent than those other country’s and their people.They really do see it as a great and well documented and proven medicinal tool for everything from pain to many mental issues such as PTSD/ADD/ADHD among a host of other mental disoredersI have to say as for myself,I really do see it ending up being legalized for adult use nation wide in the very near future.Of of course there will never be any stopping of cocain,heroin,prescription pain pill use and especially abuse but they do also see it as a very valuable tool insofar as putting a very huge dent in the use and demand for all of these very bad drugs and in fact it really would be.Most people if they had the choice to make ithout ending up in jai and or prison would gravitate towards using marijuana than using the bad drugs.I trul do belive this compltely.I also see it as a major toll in alcaholism as well.adults polled have said if given the choice they would much rather use marijuana than alcahol products because they prefer the feeling they get from pot over that or using lacahol and the fact it has no bad after efect as well.I for one belong to quite a few pro marijuana groups from NORML to tohers.I wil never stop fighting to make it legal not only for mdicinal use but for social use for adults.I know everytime I get on here i tend to ramble on and on and many times vring up the same points over and over but I do it not to iratate anyone but in hopes that others will read what I print and do the research,crunch the numbers etc and see all of the positive aspects of marijuana and it’s use and it being legalized finally in this country and pretty much no negative aspects.Why no negative ones?Simple,because to date i reaLLY HAVE TO SAY i HAVE YET TO FIND ANY REAL NEGATIVE THINGS PERTAINING OT THE USE OF MARIJUANA.If I get across to jst one person though then I am happy as hell.I know all of you on here agree with legalizing it for adult use as well s medicinal use so I know I am in very good copmany.Tbnak you all for allowing me to continue to publish everything I cna to support our fight to legailize.Thanks to you all and never quit

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