Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stop DEA Raids in Medical Marijuana States

March 3, 2010

Senator Frank Lautenberg

Re: Medical marijuana patient protection

Dear Senator Lautenberg:

As you are aware, in January 2010 New Jersey enacted Legislation authorizing qualified patients upon their doctor’s advice to use marijuana medicinally. The law requires patients to register and comply with a program administered by the State. In support of such programs, last year United States Attorney General Eric Holder issued a guidance memorandum* to US Attorneys in states that authorized medical marijuana.

This Memorandum instructed them to essentially focus resources on areas other than medical marijuana programs. Considering the tremendous threats to public safety and the country’s welfare posed by terrorism, murder, kidnapping, bank robbery, fraud, drug cartels, public corruption, money laundering, counterfeiting, etc., AG Holder essentially challenged federal prosecutors to focus on concerns other than patients using medical marijuana in accordance with state law. At the time he issued this Memorandum he was doubtlessly aware of the holding in City of Garden Grove v. Superior Court. In this case, California's Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the medical use of marijuana by patients pursuant to State law was legal use, not pre-empted by federal concerns. The court also noted the right of the state to determine medical standards. In response to a petition of certification by the prosecution, the US Supreme Court declined to review that decision.

In light of the above, we were outraged to learn that on February 12, 2010 in Colorado, another medical marijuana state, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided the home of medical marijuana caregiver Chris Bartkowicz, confiscated his property and arrested him.** Compounding this inordinate waste of public resources is the fact that Jeffrey Sweetin, the DEA special agent in charge of the Denver office, and the lead agent in the raid, was quoted in the Denver Post as saying that marijuana “is not medicine.” In addition to being patently incompetent to make such a statement, he is completely wrong, as hundreds of studies and the attestations of tens of thousands of patients has proven. As noted above, even the US Supreme Court recognizes that if a state says that marijuana is medicine, then marijuana is medicine in that state. One would expect that the DEA agent responsible would, as a minimum, be disciplined for this wretchedly irresponsible conduct.

My purpose in writing to you is to request that your office contact Attorney General Holder and request assurance that the federal government will not waste federal resources harassing New Jersey patients participating in this State’s medical marijuana program. Please remind him that patients are not criminals. If the US Attorney has sufficient resources to not only adequately combat all the actual crimes noted above but also to persecute patients, it is evident that the US Attorney’s budget is overly generous and should be reduced.

Thank you for acting to protect your constituents who are medical marijuana patients. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth Wolski, RN MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08618


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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. One typo up there, after the bit about the dumb-ass DEA Agent. Spell-check must have changed the word blatantly with patently. Gotta read before you ask all these nice people to send that letter in =)