U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama - who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana - will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.I have always suspected that if Obama did anything on this issue, it would not come as a formal policy directive (such as an executive order). Holder's statement that Obama's campaign promise is "now American policy" suggests that is true.
Asked at a Washington news conference Wednesday about Drug Enforcement Administration raids in California since Obama took office last month, Holder said the administration has changed its policy.
"What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."
But a lot of issues remain fuzzy. First, according to news accounts, Holder only addresses the specific question of federal raids on medical marijuana distributors, but he does not comment on the enforcement of federal law against the usage or possession of pot in other contexts. Even if the government does not conduct raids on large distributors of medical marijuana, it could still arrest and prosecute general distributors or users. Furthermore, if the anti-drug crowd goes up in flames over lax enforcement of federal law, Obama might reconsider the matter. But for now, the pot legalization crowd probably has a little buzz.