Nine House representatives, including Alameda County Democrat Barbara Lee, penned a letter to President Barack Obama last week condemning the Justice Department's recently announced crackdown on the medical marijuana industry in California. They cite Attorney General Eric Holder's earlier promise to be more hands-off with dispensaries who were complying with state law. Signers of the letter included seven California Democrats, a CA Republican (Rep. Dana Rohrabacher) and Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen.
Among the 1,000 or so people protesting Obama's appearance last week at the W Hotel in S.F. were hundreds of marijuana advocates who came out to show their signs of rage over the crackdown.
The letter states, "It is our strong position that local and state governments must be allowed to develop, implement and enforce their own public health laws with regard to medical cannabis."
The White House, while not responding directly to this letter, did release a response to several online petitions concerning marijuana legalization last week, and the response is perhaps telling, and very equivocal: "We ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition." In other words, they're kind of backing up the Justice Department for the moment.