Feds Threaten State Dispensaries Nationwide

In a little-publicized memo, the US federal government has indicated that the gloves are off with regards to medical marijuana dispensaries, “regardless of state laws.”

Previous memos had indicated a loosening of federal prosecutions of medical marijuana, however the new memo states very clearly that the feds consider all dispensaries illegal under federal law and that their prosecution is a “core priority” of the feds.

Read the Department of Justice’s “Haag Memo” here: http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/feds/doj.haag.memo.pdf

The “Haag Memo” was written on Feb. 1, 2011 from United States Attorney Melinda Haag (Northern District of California) to John A. Russo, Esq., Oakland City Attorney, in response to an Oakland City Council request for guidance regarding medical marijuana and federal law. The memo was written with consultation and approval from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Read the Original Story in the Medical Marijuana Business Report

The “Haag Memo” clarifies the “Ogden Memo”, which was written by former Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden on Oct. 19, 2009 for the Department of Justice. The “Ogden Memo” seemed to indicate that the new Obama administration would restrict federal prosecution of medical marijuana providers in states that had medical marijuana laws. This was heralded by many as giving them the green light to pursue medical marijuana activities, as long as they were in compliance with state law.

The “Haag Memo” clears up that misconception with some very unambiguous statements. The memo says clearly that the feds will not look the other way on medical marijuana. The “Haag Memo” states very clearly that the feds will continue to investigate, arrest and prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in every state “regardless of state laws.”

In addition, the memo calls prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries a “core priority” for the feds.

According to the memo, medical marijuana commercial activity is still considered by the Department of Justice to be “a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities.”

The memo may be the cause of the recent increase in federal raids at medical marijuana dispensaries. Only 4 days after the memo was issued, the DEA raided 4 dispensaries in California Just this week, the DEA raided more dispensaries in California and Montana. They arrested dozens of people, and seized the assets and bank accounts of several dispensaries.


“Maybe this will wake people up who think that it can’t happen here,” says Kathleen Chippi of the Colorado-based Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project (cannabislawsuits.com), who is trying to raise money to
file lawsuits to uphold Colorado’s Constitutional right to cannabis medicine. Many legal observers agree that Colorado has the best chance of fighting the feds in court because Colorado is one of the only states whose medical marijuana law is actually in the state Constitution.

However, last year the state of Colorado set up a regulatory scheme that required caregivers to surrender their Constitutional rights. The state created a new entity called a Medical Marijuana Center (MMC). However, in order to apply to become an MMC, the applicants had to surrender their Constitutional rights to be caregivers, leaving them with no Constitutional protection.

MMC applicants also had to sign their power of attorney over to the state Department of Revenue for extensive investigations of every aspect of their lives, including family, spouses, children, and bank accounts. Over 700 people applied to become MMCs last July 1, 2010. The investigations on these applicants are in full swing, and no licenses to applicants have yet been granted.


“We will enforce the CSA vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

“Others who knowingly facilitate the actions of the licensees, includmg property owners, landlords, and financiers should also know that their conduct violates federal law.”

“As the Attorney General has repeatedly stated, the Department of Justice remains fumly (sic) committed to enforcing the CSA in all states.”


“Haag Memo” (Feb. 1, 2011)

“Ogden Memo” (Oct. 19, 2009)

Protest Federal Intervention into State Medical Marijuana Laws Call the White House at (202) 456-1414 between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST and send an email right now: SEND THE WHITEHOUSE AN EMAIL

– Press release from the Cannabis Therapy Institute.



  1. joffa on

    We have the Feds prosecuting medical marijuana users. While US troops in Afghanistan are protecting the CIA opium poppy plantations. Double standards? Yes to the wise, No to the US Government.

  2. Desert Rat on

    Make the actions of the feds public. Their tyrany can only persist when they control the flow of information to defend their behavior. Most Americans will not tolerate the killing of pets and terrorization of children by SWAT teams or the use of federal statutes to steal from the American people through the use of the Rico act when they see how it actually works. Video tape their actions and release them on U-Tube. Make public the actual use of the law to arrest primarily teens and minorities. Attend trials and write letters to editors of newspapers. Write letters of support regarding responsible legislation such as the Truth in Trials act to allow those accused in federal court the right to present a medical marijuana defense. Write letters of support for those like Marc Emery whose only real crime was to provide support to legalization initiatives. Juries are not likely to convict if they are presented with ALL of the facts and when they see the twisted actions of those who pretend to serve the people.

  3. NorCal soldier on

    The entire legal system is out of control in America, from privatized prisons to police corruption and brutality. If the feds put out this statement they clearly have no regard for states rights. History repeats itself, remember in the civil war the main issue beside slavery was state’s rights. Well if you look closely and consider the definition of a civil war is, that is precisely what the war on drugs is in America, a civil war between the capitalists and corrupt politicians, vs. the people and the proletariat class.

  4. troy on

    Well as you said nothing worthwhile is easy so to me its apparent by the dea seeking the easy busts to mean they know there days are numbered as it stands now the push for cannabis legalization continues to grow in strength daily while those in the enforcement business are using this time as there last gasp effort to make as much money as possible as well as inflict there ego’s which revolve around the power they possess as narcotic officers. Personally I only see it as the last gasp of a dying regime who know the days are numbered before cannabis is legalized.

  5. Troy on

    How the States who have enacted mmj laws should deal with this is to monitor the situation of the raids turn out to be properly conducted against dispensaries acting well outside the laws be it money laundering, providing meds to a patient without a recomendation or in cases where they know the patient is going to resell it or the few dispensaries that have been caugh sell marijuana. But if the investigation shows the feds raiding every and all dispensaries even those who are strictly legit with no regard to state laws with there only goal to be to disrupt the safe flow of medical marijuana at this point these medical states should refuse to co operate as well as withhold any funds collected wwithimn the state that would be directed to federal holdings , the way I see it is if the feds are going to ignore state laws then why should these states contribute to the federal treasury if there laws are only going to be ignored

  6. Samson on

    I was always taught that: anything that is actually worth “it” in this world will NOT come easy. Having said that…..what should one surmise about a group that favors targeting EASY busts……I wonder.?

  7. Dirty Harry on

    “Why do they(DEA) insist on the continuation of persecuting people who have done nothing to harm anyone. These people are caregivers who want to do all things regarding mmj honestly and openly…….makes no sense. Unless perhaps you have a bully mentality.”

    It is because the busts are easy. The normal cannabis user is non-violent. So are the dispensary’s. No resistance, very low risk the the officers, and is an easy stat to add to the war on drugs.

    Like shooting fish in a barrel.

  8. Samson on

    Why do they(DEA) insist on the continuation of persecuting people who have done nothing to harm anyone. These people are caregivers who want to do all things regarding mmj honestly and openly…….makes no sense. Unless perhaps you have a bully mentality.

  9. Mrs.RatsRectum on

    It goes without saying that the Feds do not consider marijuana legal. To stop trying because it is illegal in the eyes of those who receive money from the federal criminal justice budget is to miss the point completely. If cannabis outlets keep popping up to replace the ones they shut down and in new states it is only a matter of time before they will bleed more of their budget and tie up the system.

  10. Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers on

    Your disavowal of the principle enunciated in the Ogden memorandum has not gone unnoticed. We the People of the United States demand the resignations of Attorney General Holder and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. The dissolution of the DEA and the repeal of the Controlled Substances Act are essential elements of our determination that America become once again “the land of the free”. Our status as the leading prison-nation in the world is a completely unacceptable outrage, and drastically reducing our prison population must be America’s first priority.

    Haag’s memo reveals the so-called “United States Justice Department” to be an illegitimate institution waging war against the people of the United States, and an enemy of American liberty. Real Americans will act against the criminal gang of fascists controlling the Congress, many state legislatures, the courts, and their Schutzstaffel, the Injustice Department. No terrorist or serial murderer threatens our society more than rabid animals like Haag and the dupes who continue to prop them up.

    Your failure to resist fascism renders you unfit to serve a second term. People who use cannabis read, think, and vote. I for one am done with the kind of political expediency which has allowed the Greater and Lesser Fascist Parties to control our private lives. To whatever extent you are motivated by pragmatism, please consider that my contention that millions of your core voters will simply not accept your retreat from respecting states’ medical cannabis laws may be true.

    Robert Chase
    Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers
    [email protected]

  11. smitty on

    We let them win by our avoidence of jury duty.

    The most important vote we have is as grand and/or trial jurors.

    Accept the summons to jury duty. Once in the jury pool at the courthouse act like you don’t have two brain cells to rub together as you’re not likely to be chosen if you display anything resembling intelligence. Judges and prosecutors only want people that will act as rubber stamps serving as jurors.

    Government tyrants obtain felony indictments and convictions at trial only if we go along with their program.

    Get on the jury, then pay attention, refuse to indict or convict people accused of bullshit government-invented crimes, cannabis “crimes” being a prime example, though the list is very long and always expanding.

    The really neat thing is that at trial just one juror’s steadfast not-guilty vote can hang the jury, then they have to start the trial process again.

    If this happens enough-as it did in the days of alcohol prohibition-the law will go away.

    But it may not come about as easily (alcohol prohibition only lasted some 13 years) now as it did then…

    The real advantage the tyrants have in our so-called modern era is the use of plea bargaining: the defendant pleads guilty and there is no trial.

    The degree of corruption in the criminal justice system is such that over 90% of criminal cases never face the scrutiny of a jury, the kind of justice that the Founding Fathers established.

    In our criminal justice system, plea bargains are an absolute necessity. The entire system would grind to a halt if only 15% or 20% of criminal defendants demanded trial by jury. This should be an obvious indication of the enaction of far too many laws that invent crimes out of behaviors that really aren’t criminal and would never have come about if common sense (it doesn’t appear to be all that common, at least to me) prevailed.

    Most cases are resolved by the defendant pleading guilty, almost always under various modes of pressure exerted by government prosecutors. It can be a very dirty business. I know ’cause I was processed through their judicial meat-grinder some years ago.

    Prosecutors often intimadate defendants into guilty pleas by stacking bogus charges, indicting or threatening to indict loved ones or friends. In addition, the bogus charges and threats to indict give the prosecutor something to offer in exchange for the guilty plea.

    Judges exert pressure by denial of all or most pre-trial motions, regardless of merit. Judges also help to break a defendant by approval of prosecutorial midbehavior.

    Defendants that can’t afford bail face the pressure of rotting in jail for long periods just waiting for trial.

    In my own adventure in legal-land, besides realizing in the pre-trial stages, which lasted nearly 3 years (that’s right-3 years-I fought like hell…), that anything resembling a fair trial wasn’t gonna happen, I caved in to a plea bargain in order to: gain dismissal of the false indictment of my uninvolved girlfriend; be sentenced myself to probation rather than up to 5 years in prison; avoid the forfeiture of my home and farm-had to write a six-figure check to the Sheriff’s office to seal that part of the “deal” (can you spell E X T O R T I O N ?).

    Defendants that insist upon exercising their right to trial by jury risk much harsher sentences as compared to those accepting plea bargains, to the point that even totally innocent people wind up pleading guilty, in order to be spared the possibility of often draconian sentencing.

    This shouldn’t come as a surprise as nearly 100% of criminal cases that proceed to trial end in convictions, so even the innocent face a great probability of being convicted. It’s quite a stain on American Liberty that this area is one of the very few things government does with near-perfect efficiency…convicting and warehousing citizens in prisons, many of whom have not committed real crimes (real crimes being those causing injury to the person and/or property of non-consenting others).

  12. Worm on

    To Secure the Blessings of Liberty: “The American nation was built around the ideals of individual freedom and liberty, however, the Founding Fathers also came to the realization that certain boundaries must be set forth in order to ensure that such liberties would not breach those of other citizens’. While the government certainly makes it a point to promote such personal liberties, it is up to the American people to constantly challenge the government to provide for such freedoms.”

    Peace & Pot

  13. Dirty Harry on

    I hate to have to add this, but there is no legal medical marijuana program anywhere due to Federal law. No matter what any state says to say it is legal, it is not to the Feds.
    Until the medical states take action to cause the Feds to change marijuana classification to schedule two FEDERALLY, this will never end.
    As broke as the country is, if it chooses to spend the money to come after anyone in the medical marijuana realm, the Feds will always win.

  14. Mrs.RatsRectum on

    So the Feds are going to take the quick money by busting the legal cannabis enterprises, leaving the state and local communities without the revenue AND without reducing demand.

    And then what? Is this some sort of sick test to see if people will surrender their constitutional rights? Are the state and local governments affected by these federal shutdowns going to take this to the highest court in the land to make cannabis legal? Whatever happens it ought to go to court so that there is never such a stupid law like the one that makes you give up your constitutional rights. That’s the road to serfdom, to slavery.

    I want to hear some options on possible remedies and ins and outs of this from the experts in the reform organizations.

  15. Worm on

    I’m sure that the people won’t mind paying more tax to fund that. The DEA are a joke right now just trying to save their jobs. Democracy, HAH. They are trying to scare states into not voting for pro cannabis bills. All state police who aid the feds should be fired.