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Marijuana advocates blast Obama over Oaksterdam University raid

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 17:13 EDT
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Marijuana pot smoker via AFP
 
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Six organizations looking to reform U.S. drug laws urged President Barack Obama to halt raids on medical marijuana providers following the raid on Oaksterdam University in California.

“Our coalition represents the views of tens of millions of Americans who believe the war on medical marijuana patients and providers you are fighting is misguided and counterproductive,” Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Marijuana Policy Project, National Cannabis Industry Association, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) wrote in a letter to the President.

Oaksterdamn University, which trained people to work in the booming medical marijuana industry, was raided by federal agents on Monday.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical marijuana. However, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug: the most restrictive classification reserved for dangerous drugs with no real medical value.

“Instead of celebrating – or even tolerating – this state experimentation, which has benefited patients and taken profits away from drug cartels, you have turned your back as career law enforcement officials have run roughshod over some of the most professional and well-regulated medical marijuana providers,” the marijuana advocates told Obama. “We simply cannot understand why you have reneged on your administration’s earlier policy of respecting state medical marijuana laws.”

Following the election of Obama, the Department of Justice had suggested that it would not target state-authorized medical marijuana providers. The agency later clarified that it would still treat medical marijuana providers as criminal enterprises, although it believed prosecuting medical marijuana patients was not a good use of resources.

“Our frustration and confusion over your administration’s uncalled-for attacks on state-authorized medical marijuana providers was best summed up by John McCowen, the chair of the Mendocino County (CA) board of supervisors, who said, ‘It’s almost as if there was a conscious effort to drive [medical marijuana cultivation and distribution] back underground. My opinion is that’s going to further endanger public safety and the environment – the federal government doesn’t seem to care about that,’” the groups wrote.

A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 47 percent of Americans agreed that marijuana should be legalized and taxed, while 42 percent disagreed.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
 
 
 
 
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