Holder Defends Department’s Medical Marijuana Track Record
By Matthew Volkov | June 8, 2012 12:24 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder rebutted claims on Thursday that the Justice Department has circumvented states’ authority by cracking down on medical marijuana outfits.

“The Justice Department indicated in a memo that went out by the Deputy Attorney General that we were not going to use limited resources that we have to go after people who are acting in conformity with state law — people who have serious illnesses, people who are acting in conformity with state law,” Holder said at a House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Holder’s riposte came after Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) questioned the department’s “extensive” focus on investigating and punishing those who legally grow and sell medical marijuana in accordance with state laws.

“Since 2009 DOJ has conducted around 200 raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers have brought more than 60 indictments,” Nadler said.

The Attorney General called the lawmaker’s questions “inconsistent with the little things called the facts,” saying that the department only pursues individuals who have taken advantage of state laws or, in the case of distribution centers, are placed within close proximity to schools.

“One has to deal with the reality that there are certain people who … are taking advantage of these state laws and going beyond that which the states have authorized,” Holder said.

Nadler noted that the departments actions are seemingly inconsistent with a campaign promise made by President Barack Obama, who, in 2008, said the department would not use resources to “circumvent state laws.”

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have enacted state laws allowing the use and sale of medical marijuana.

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