By Steve Elliott
The U.S. Justice Department warned Congress last year that a medical marijuana provision included in an appropriations bill could “limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well.” But it turns out that was wrong, according to a just-revealed DOJ memo.
The “informal talking points” obtained by Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell were “intended to discourage passage” of the provision, which passed and was signed into law, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post .
The memo was written by the chief of the Justice Department’s appellate section and dated February 27, 2015. In it, the DOJ says the provision does not place “any limitations on our ability to investigate and prosecute crimes involving recreational marijuana.”
The memo’s talking points were repeated by a number of House members who opposed the medical marijuana provision.
Andy Harris (R-Maryland), one of the worst enemies of medicinal cannabis in the entire House, claimed “the amendment as written would tie the DEA’s hands beyond medical marijuana.” Rep. John Fleming (R-Louisiana) claimed that the provision would “take away the ability of the Department of Justice to protect our young people … it would just make it difficult, if not impossible, for the DEA and the Department of Justice to enforce the law.”
Those claims are inaccurate, the newly revealed DOJ memo shows. The claim that the medical marijuana provision would hamper DOJ’s ability to enforce recreational marijuana law “does not reflect our current thinking,” according to the memo.