The newly installed U.S. Attorney for Western Michigan is wading into the debate over the federal government’s handling of medical marijuana laws across the country.
Patrick Miles, the U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids, said that the federal government still considers the possession and use of marijuana a federal offense under the Controlled Substances Act. This stance flies in the face of a number of medical marijuana legalization laws in several states, including Michigan. The issue boiled over this year with marijuana crackdowns in a few Western states, most notably in California. In November Washington state and Colorado legalized the use of a small amount of marijuana, the first states to do so.
In Michigan, the law is misunderstood, Miles said this week, according to a report by the Grand Rapids Press.
“People expected obtaining medical marijuana would require a prescription and a pharmacy. It doesn’t,” he said. “It is very simple to get a medical marijuana card. Marijuana remains illegal under Michigan law. A Michigan medical marijuana license to grow or a card to use only give immunity under state law, not federal.”
Miles said his office will continue to investigate and prosecute marijuana cases, but it will not interfere in medical marijuana sale and use that is legal under state law — echoing President Barack Obama’s policy as he took office in 2009.