In May of 2014 a historic vote was held in Congress. Politicians on Capitol Hill voted to prevent the United States Justice Department from using tax payer dollars to enforce outdated federal marijuana laws in states where medical marijuana is legal. At the time activists thought it was a major victory, one so major that it would be the end of federal raids in legal medical marijuana states. Unfortunately, that has not proven to be the case, as raids have continued.
The amazing Tom Angell posted an article today breaking the story that leading up to that historic vote, the United States Justice Department intentionally mislead Congress. Per Marijuana.Com:
Justice Department officials misinformed members of Congress about the effects of a medical marijuana amendment being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an internal memo obtained by Marijuana.com.
The amendment, which lawmakers approved in May 2014 by a vote of 219-189 despite the Obama administration’s objections, is aimed at preventing the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.
But in the days leading up to the vote, department officials distributed “informal talking points” warning House members that the measure could “in effect, limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well,” according to the document. [Emphasis added.]
The newly obtained memo, drafted by Patty Merkamp Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, admits that the talking points were “intended to discourage passage of the rider” but do not “reflect our current thinking.”
You can click on the article link above to read Tom’s entire article. So DOJ was supposed to remain objective and neutral, and provide guidance to Congress within the scope of just medical marijuana, but instead they used it as an opportunity to try to keep marijuana prohibition in all forms in place at all costs. They knew that the bill would only affect medical enforcement, and not recreational, but instead falsely used the scare tactic that it would affect both, and therefore shouldn’t be approved at all.
While some call what the Justice Department did ‘misleading,’ others have gone as far as calling it perjury. Had a citizen done what the United States Justice Department did, they would be looking at charges. But for the DOJ, it’s just business as usual. This leaked memo, combined with continued raids in legal states, clearly illustrates just how little the Department of Justice cares about Congress.