White House Responds to DEA Raids, Vows to End Policy
Washington, DC -- White House Spokesman Nick Shapiro reacted to new Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids at medical cannabis collectives in
California, saying he expects President Obama to end that policy when a new DEA
Administrator is seated. "The president believes that federal resources should
not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior
leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to
review their policies with that in mind," Shapiro said.
The statement puts the Department of Justice and the DEA on notice of a change in federal policy, and indicates that continued raids may not be tolerated. "Americans for Safe Access acknowledges President Obama's continued pledge to end federal interference with state medical marijuana laws," commented Caren Woodson, Director of Government Affairs. "We look forward to working with the President and his Administration to enact long-term policies that support safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research." Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation's largest medical cannabis advocacy organization, sent policy recommendations aimed at harmonizing federal and state law and encouraging research to President Obama and Congress earlier this year.
Shapiro's statement followed a groundswell of public opposition and critical media following a DEA raid in
Medical cannabis raids intensified under former President George W. Bush, with more than one hundred paramilitary style raids, new indictments, and letters threatening property owners who rent to medical cannabis facilities with prosecution and civil asset forfeiture. "More than 72 million people live in a state that has enacted laws that authorize the limited use and distribution of cannabis for therapeutic use," Woodson said. "The White House's comments have provided patients and their loved ones a sense of relief, and we hope the President and our Attorney General will keep this pledge in mind when considering appointments to the DEA and Office of National Drug Control Policy."
Comments by Obama on ending medical marijuana raids: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080323/NEWS/803230336
ASA medical marijuana recommendations for President Obama: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/PresidentialRecommendations
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With over 30,000 active members in more than 40 states,
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization
of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting
safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works
to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve
access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation,
education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients
and the caregivers.