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Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a new memo that has medical marijuana dispensary owners worried. President Obama’s Justice Department has issued a new memo that is bound to effect the 16 medical marijuana states.
Previously, The Obama administration signaled that it would not use the Justice Department resources to prosecute medical marijuana patients and caregivers. U.S. Deputy Attorney Dan Ogden issued a memo that that the Obama administration did not want to use valuable resources to target marijuana dispensaries and patients if they were obeying state law.
The U.S. Department of Justice has now reversed its position and indicated that it will prosecute medical marijuana patients and dispensaries. This stunning reversal has the medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in an up roar. The minimum punishment under the federal system is a mandatory 5 years in prison.
Under the previous Dan Ogden memo, marijuana dispensaries flourished. In the state of Colorado, dispensaries opened at an astonishing rate. Before the Ogden memo there were only 12 marijuana dispensaries in the state of Colorado. After the Ogden memo, the number of dispensaries increase to over 800 through out the state of Colorado.
Medical marijuana patients and dispensary owner are feeling betrayed with president Obama’s new stance toward medical marijuana. On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama personally stated that he would not use the Justice Department to target medical marijuana patients and their caregivers as long as they were complying with state laws. The marijuana community is now under attack and in a state of panic.
Marijuana dispensary owners are now on code red alert. At any time, the federal government came come and shut them down. They are organizing with their patients to protest and raids that may occur from any federal agencies. These plans include having patients show up during any raids with picket sign to help bring attention to this new policy. Patients are encouraged to contact their local media, television station, radio station and to video tape any law enforcement encounter.
Will this do any good? Only time will tell but its better than just staying under the radar and hoping things will change. The medical marijuana movement has had to fight every step of the way and they are not about to stop now. They only way to try to gain traction is to bring this new position to the public.
The dispensary owners are trying to force the government out of the medicine cabinets of their patients. They face severe consequences to continue to serve their patients. Undoubtedly, there will be some dispensary owners that will shut down and close shop. But there will be those that step up to the challenge and open and expand their current operation.