Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Medical Marijuana Proponents Breathe Easier Under New Guidelines

Diagnosed with a brain tumor, chronic pain and scoliosis, Raich, 43, says she uses marijuana to help her survive. But having lost multiple court cases, including one in the Supreme Court, the Californian has lived in constant fear that she and others in her position will be arrested by the feds.

But new formal guidelines by the U.S. Department of Justice could change that. In a marked departure from the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder made it clear today that medical marijuana users and dispensaries in states that permit its usage should not be prosecuted.

California is one of 14 states where it's permissible to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. But even though it's permitted for sale there, it still violates federal law, which bans any use of marijuana. And in the previous administration, authorities targeted medical marijuana sellers under federal laws even if they complied with state laws.

The new policy is in line with what candidate Barack Obama promised in his campaign. As a presidential candidate, Obama said he would end federal raids on people who used marijuana for medical purposes.

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