Feds Re-commit to Marijuana Prohibition in Medical Cannabis States

March 18th, 2011 by John Masterson Leave a reply »

Back in October, 2009, the United States Department of Justice issued the famous “Ogden Memo“, which gave some assurance to patients and providers in  medical marijuana states that they would not be targeted by federal agents as long as they play by their state’s rules.

It reads, in part:

As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.

Earlier this week, Montana experienced a massive federal action involving twenty-six search warrants and at least ten dramatic, guns-drawn raids, coordinated with twenty-two state and local agencies. It is not yet clear whether all of the targeted businesses and individuals were in “clear and unambiguous compliance”  with Montana laws, but the scope of the raids have left an estimated two thousand legal cardholders without a legal supply.

A February 1st, 2011 Justice Department memo, the “Haag memo” (PDF) may help explain the federal stance: that all marijuana is illegal, and a “core priority” of the department is to disrupt and prosecute marijuana commerce. It reads, in part:

…while the Department does not focus its limited resources on seriously ill individuals who use marijuana as part of a treatment regimen in compliance with state law as stated in the October 2009 Ogden Memorandum, we will enforce the Controlled Substances Act vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law. (emphasis added)

So, it sounds like seriously ill patients can use cannabis as medicine, but there will be no farms or stores that are exempt from federal attack, even if they’re working within a legal framework defined by the state. Leads me to wonder where these seriously ill folks are supposed to acquire their doctor recommended marijuana.

It gets a little worse though. The new memo also warns that it is illegal to “knowingly open, lease, rent, maintain, or use property” for a cannabis garden, and that “property owners, landlords, and financiers” could also be targeted, and their assets forfeited.

If you have feedback on these federal policies, call all these numbers and leave a message:

President Obama: 202-456-1111

Department of Justice: 202-353-1555

Congressman Rehberg: 1-888-232-2626

Senator Tester: (866) 554-4403

Senator Baucus: 800-332-6106



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  1. just me says:

    omg this is all getting really out of hand now i mean for real guys come on how is a medical marijuana patient supposed to get his or her medication if there is no way to grow it legally makes one wonder what kind of government and people we have my gosh dont we the people have a say in anything any more or did we all lose our right to freedom under the constitution. if we dont do as the government says then we are arrested or worse its like we have to bend over and kiss ass!!! well im no ass kisser i think the government should listen to the people. WE THE PEOPLE VOTED FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND WE THE PEOPLE WILL NOT STEP DOWN BECAUSE WE THE PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION OF OUR RIGHT TO FREEDOM AND THAT MEANS FREEDOM FROM OUR GOVERNMENT STEPPING IN AND TAKING OVER WHAT WAS SAID WOULD NOT BE DONE BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA LIKE TAKING OUR MEDICATION AWAY IN THESE RAIDS AND LEAVING THE PATIENT WITH NO OTHER PLACE TO GO SO WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED…TAXPAYERS MONEY USED AGAIN TO HURT WE THE PEOPLE GOOD JOB GUYS…NOT!!!

  2. jack says:

    It’s more subtle than a Trojan horse. Register everyone so you know where they are and who they are, and round everyone up. Do we get serial numbers tattooed, too?

  3. Terry Allen says:

    Sounds like a new business opportunity.
    Setting up grow and tending operations for each individual patient…assuming they get to grow their own…..

  4. M says:

    So it is legal for patients to use their medicine, but not legal for them to obtain it? I’m confused. Where exactly are they supposed to get their medicine?
    I’m beginning to wonder if there are ulterior motives here with the feds. Have the feds decided they want in? Is it their plan to supply medicine to the medicinal marijuana card holders? They know that there are a lot of people out there that need it.
    Just a thought…

  5. Gail says:

    They are scared to death because they know people know the truth about this plant and that we are about to take it back. They have been relying on drug market money so long I doubt our government could run with out it. They think by ramping up persecution they can retain control but the cat is out of the bag and too many people know. The plant belongs to the people, and we will have it. I am serious folks, we need to bring back seeded cannabis. We are going to need it.

  6. M says:

    Yes, Gail!!!! Well said!

  7. patient says:

    I agree also with Gail..very good point! I think it is time to let the government to stay the hell out of our lives and the only way we will do that is sticking together. Strength in numbers people!! The government was only put into place during the was times and it should be abolished by now…do you know that a person doesn’t have to pay taxes?? I’m sure if you go through the laws you will find the exact law..sorry that I don’t have more info on it!!

  8. Genesis the Faith says:

    Sounds like a Declaration of War to me. Sounds like the feds are going to attack state sovereignty. What state is going to be next? It also sounds like the DOJ is a sweeper for Big Pharma.

  9. agoodhope says:

    Am wondering how many LOCAL law enforcement officials were involved? While the Missoula Chief of Police was testifying for repeal of the med mj law, how many state paid law enforcement officials were present and participating in raids where NO STATE law(s) were violated? The Drug Task Forces are comprised of Federals agents and local agents. This bothers me greatly.

  10. BillS says:

    The root of the problem in this whole scenario is the “War on Drugs” itself. The founders and supporters of NORMAL, LEAP and others have recognized this from the getgo of their organizations.

    The conduct of the “War” has led many judges, lawyers, cops, thinkers and others of good conscience to realize that use of the term “war” has allowed for the transcendance of ethics in the name of “life and death” drama – whether real or imagined.

    As with any bureaucracy (private or public), the bureaucracy becomes molded by those who parent and nurture it. The DEA and its various precursors (to use a DEA term of art) came from questionable roots (Richard Millhouse Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover for example) whose methods and motives have come to be known as questionable at best.

    A bureaucracy of such long standing and complexity then takes on a life of its own both from the standpoint of mission and its mythology. To challenge to motives and actions of this “venerable” institution becomes heresy at some level among federal law enforcement and ergo those other (eg. local law enforcement agencies) who accept not only its expertise (mythology) but cold hard cash in times of economic down turn and skimpy budgets for such essentials as manpower and technology. This vampire is very charming,

    So — what you have is a formula that leads to corruption in many forms. The most basic of these forms is a corruption of common sense and decency which seems to be missing in this whole public policy debate surrounding cannabis.

    While seemingly standing on the sidelines taking notes, otherwise responsible law enforcement officials and public policy experts have let a strong, publicly supported change in public policy to languish. City and county elected officials, health department bureaucrats, legislators and law enforcement have abbrogated their true responsibility to their public at least in the Montana experience. This has gone on for some 6 years……

    But this all fits into the ruberic of war and thus is justified unto itself in an effective “pretzel logic” fashion.

    The question then becomes, “Where do we go from here?”. A little honesty and fairplay would present a good start, Mr. USA Cotter.

  11. CAT says:

    IS THIS ENTRAPMENT OR WHAT? The Feds use to offer a program, to ANY patient, who could not financially pay for their medical maryijuana. This program actually paid for the patients cannibis. It was discontinued not long ago. This has a bad odor and smells like entrapment to me. Can someone explain this? (I’m just a VOTER who likes to be informed!)

  12. CAT says:

    TO: ALL MY VET FRIENDS, Is this what YOU signed up for? Laws that were meant to work FOR YOU and YOUR BUDDIES but are actually working AGAINST YOU and YOUR BUDDIES? Personally, I THANK YOU for YOUR sacrifices! I PROMISE TO ALWAYS STAND BY YOU unlike some of our elected officials!

  13. punkrock says:

    The raids conducted on Monday are very similar to what the mafia has done for decades. Watch a new business develop, then come in and demand profit share. In the Feds case it just an out right smash and grab. The “grab” in this situation will fund further investigations of the Montana Medical Marijuana industry. It would be interesting to see the dollar amount spent on total man hours of local and federal agencies during the raids of March 14th, 2011.

  14. David says:

    Reading this in it’s strictest sense; A patient can buy all they want as long as they have lest than the state limit at any one time but ANYONE, including a caregiver, selling to that patient better watch their back. One comment even suggested a business or place that leased or even donated grow space to a patient but that too could be construed as a landlord or business operating a facility for the manufacture and distribution of marijuana. They even allude to only “seriously ill” patients will be left alone… what defines that in their mind? If your that seriously ill how are you supposed to grow it, takes a LOT of work to maintain a healthy plant!

  15. Ryan says:

    If we have 28,000 patients in Montana, we need them ALL calling and emailing our government offices NOW! Let’s not let this thing go. Now we see what happens when we get complacent and let our government do its own thing. WE NEED TO DEMAND ATTENTION AND ANSWERS. Next election the responsible officials better just pack their bags!

  16. just me says:

    well i made montana news with our rally today it was great and no bustins from the police all i can say on this is DEA GO AWAY

  17. Fake government says:

    I think it’s funny they will give anyone morphine but when it comes to something natural and no adicting it’s a horrible drug that god made, but yet u can go get drunk and beat your wife and children but they don’t talk about that. In the flathead beacon there was a story some lady got robbed at knife point for her pills she had 1200 morphine 150 valume and 90 percoset who the in the hell needs all that, it’s all about prescription companys, money and trying to make us I’ll for thier own personal profits. Our country is ran by the devil and his minions and that’s the truth. We need to rebel like these othere countrys before they kill us all. George Washington even said if u let gov decide what u eat and what medicine u take u will shurly be sick. He called that

  18. Fake government says:

    Land of the free and the home of the brave what a joke, land of the entraped and poisend. All we are to them is consumers not people. What happened to no more taxes back in the day now even soda is taxed I can’t wait till this country falls flat on it’s face.

  19. Fake government says:

    In the Ogden memo it states that drug traficing is the Mexican drug cartels soure of income but if u take this away that’s exactly where it will have to come from if anythig this has slowed them down I just don’t understand what goes through their heads why can’t they just treat it like any other business and tax it and make their money. There is so much proof that it really works and it is not adicting at all and it is not phycodelic. If pills are legall meth and heroin might as well be leagal too it’s the same thing just chemicals and less people actually die from meth and heroin too I just can’t grasp their reason for all this it is un American of them. Canada is more free than this place we need new government

  20. Jury Mutiny says:

    I wonder if you can call for “Jury Mutiny” in federal court. People really need to start spreading the word about this whole “mutiny” thing. read this: http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_464bdc0a-0b36-11e0-a594-001cc4c03286.html

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