Obama’s DoJ Backs Prosecution of Medical Marijuana Providers

It’s official – under Barack Obama, the Department of Justice will not restrain federal prosecutors targeting medical marijuana providers.

Any lingering hopes that the new Administration would implement change in this area were blasted April 17 when U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien forwarded to District Judge George Wu a letter from DOJ clarifying ObamAdmin policy.

The clarification had been requested by Judge Wu. On March 23, responding to widespread media reports of a “policy change” under Obama, Wu had postponed the sentencing of Charles Lynch, 46, a Morro Bay dispensary operator, until the U.S. Attorney could provide a written statement elucidating the present policy.

The definitive letter, signed by H. Marshall Jarrrett, director of the office that oversees all U.S. Attorneys, is addressed to O’Brien.

“In response to your request, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General reviewed the facts of this case to determine whether the prosecution of Mr. Lynch comports with the Department of Justice’s policies with respect to marijuana prosecutions. Based on the facts of this case, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General concurs with your office that the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of Mr. Lynch are entirely consistent with Department policies as well as public statements made by the Attorney General. Accordingly, you should seek to proceed with the sentencing recommendations which your office has filed with the court.”

Attorney General Holder had proclaimed that DOJ would henceforth approve prosectuion only of those medical marijuana providers who violate state law as well as federal law. (Federal prosecutors and the DEA claim that this has been their approach all along.) Pro-cannabis activists contend that Lynch ran an exemplary operation in Morro Bay. The letter from Deputy AG Jarrett begs the question: in what way did Lynch’s dispensary violate state law? No evidence of profiteering by Lynch had been introduced during his trial. Nevertheless, ObamAdmin policy is now unambiguous: California dispensaries are subject to DEA raids, and their operators are subject to prosecution. Gone is the hope of retroactive leniency for Tom Kikuchi, Stephanie Landa, Dustin Costa, and dozens more growers and dispensary operators who are in prison or facing prison terms.

The few that I’ve met are intelligent, skilled, decent people who, in a rational society, would be contributing to the welfare of their families and communities.

Judge Wu will sentence Charles Lynch April 23 at 10:30 a.m. in his Los Angeles courtroom. Supporters will be out in force. Ronnie Naulls is one of those in the pipeline to prison whose fate will be affected by Jarrett’s letter. He emails, “This is very upsetting news. We all have to join together and go to court to support Charles. Lord knows I would be there in a heartbeat but because of my house arrest I will be there in spirit.”

Fred Gardner edits O’Shaughnessy’s, the Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice. He can be reached at [email protected]

– Article from CounterPunch on April 21, 2009.



  1. Anonymous on

    A petition is not the answer. They view this as weakness. They see it as the common folk coming to play their laywer-ball, and they’re waiting to serve it square at your groin. We need enfuriated americans contacting these representatives 24/7
    until they fix the issues. We cant have some un-organized civil uprising or the detainment camps will be filled, and if they’re full they’ll start the systematic executions.

  2. Anonymous on

    The trouble is growing at an alarming rate. Buy a battle ready sword, buy that ammunition. How many of you still think of the sky as a wall? Our planet’s surrounded by the largest open door on it, it’s atmosphere. Coincidental the draconian government wants us all sick and disarmed?

  3. Anonymous on

    there has to be someone we can write and petition?

    Obama had a huge grass roots movement, isn’t there someone we could flood with letters of anger on this?

  4. Anonymous on

    they already are trying man….arresting us one at a time then taking our rights to vote the laws out

  5. Pfarthing6 on

    We need to do what all our forefathers did when faced with taxation w/out representation: be selfsufficient and have lots of ammo. Nothing is going to change until when people take to the street they are also willing to put up a fight.

  6. Joe and his six pack on

    Do not worry the USA as we know it is bankrupt and with its wars expanding Obama will just spend the printed money till it runs out and the USA will go broke. The USA is just living from pay chq to pay chq or as we know it as tax payer to tax payer .And as these tax payer grows smaller as more job loses this will be more evident. When we have a system that is putting jobs ells where just to have a profit and sell it back to the jobless people this system is sure to fail. While the underground economy will flourish as the people will not starve as they will sell pot to feed their family .Pretty soon the USA streets will look like the Mexican streets.
    Obama is just a puppet for Wall Street and the Federal Reserve as he plays the monopoly game you know paper money no sound money. This guy will be like bush but just a little sweeter.

  7. Anonymous on

    Uncle Obama

  8. Anonymous on

    well as I expected it to be. the new pres. is just as spineless as the last one.. he not for the people. he putting what he wants first.. like the rest. money.. he dose not care about the people at all. in reality! dose he?
    any way I’m tired of all the bull shit! the gov. needs to stay out of what the states and what the people want! so when is the civil war going to began? where the states separate from the gov..???? as i know its going to happen.. just when……. some thing to think about……..

  9. Solus on

    The decriminalization or legalization of drugs is a state issue and not a federal issue.
    Since the federal government has over the years usurped the constitution we have enjoyed fewer and fewer civil rights.
    I would encourage everyone to visit tenth Amendment Center and get involved in the restoration of our civil rights.
    Their website can be found here http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/
    It’s only by our personal involvement that we’re ever going to reassert out constitutional rights.

  10. Anonymous on

    politicians just keep dangling the carrot in front of us and pulling it away at the last second. i say fuk this stupid law, we don;t need politicians to legalize if we all decide to just say enough is enough and just grow and smoke it as if it was legal let them try to arrest all of us

  11. Paul Goodman on

    Here we go again, same old crap. Why doesn’t the U.S. just build a big wall around itself and let us dictate our own policies in Canada. All these policies just to keep a bunch of fat cat’s including the pharmaceutical companies in the wrong kind of green. If they sentence Charles Lynch and the BC three to prison terms it’s the end of civilization as we know it…excuse me while I roll a big fatty for all those caught up in this governmental garbage.

  12. JackGrabit on

    So, what are “We the People” supposed to do now? Are we expected to just stand-by as our Constitutional Rights are being trampled upon by America’s New World Gestapo?
    It’s pretty much official, the government of the United States is continuing on it’s course toward “Iron-Fisted” rule. Just another step in our government’s march toward total and complete government control and oversight on all aspects of ‘doing life’ in America.
    After all, it’s Just Another Brick in the Wall…
    We are losing our Freedoms one brick at a time, and there’s not many bricks left to go.