The Obama administration is being called upon by members of Congress to end the federal crackdown on California medical marijuana collectives. Congress members are citing Attorney General Eric Holder’s promise to utilize a hands-off approach toward clinics operating in compliance with California state law in their letter to the Obama administration.
Nine Representatives signed a letter sent to the White House on Friday, October 28th, including signatures from both Democrat and Republican Representatives. Those who signed include California Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher as well as Reps. Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Pete Stark and Steve Cohen.
In the letter to the White House, the Representatives express their concern with the recent actions the Department of Justice has taken against the California medical marijuana industry. The Reps. also detail their displeasure with the fact that legitimate businesses that are operating legally under state law are being targeted and negatively impacted by this sudden crackdown. The Reps. continued to express their position that local and state governments must be allowed to develop and enforce their own public health laws relating to medical marijuana.
The most potentially game-changing aspect of the letter for medical marijuana supporters was the call to reclassify marijuana as a legitimate controlled substance for medicinal purposes. If this was enacted, it would prohibit federal interference in state-run medical marijuana clinics. The Representatives recognize that the Department of Justice’s actions could potentially deter patients from seeking their medicine legally and in turn cause growth in the black market where marijuana is not regulated and sold illegally.
In the White House’s official response it stated, “Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.”
The letter from the nine Representatives and the response from the White House come only days after San Francisco supporters of medical marijuana protested downtown during a visit by President Obama.