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Published on Friday, January 9, 2015

Congress effectively ends federal ban on medical marijuana

In December when Congress passed their 1600+ page spending bill they quietly made history by effectively ending the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana. Their measure prohibits federal agents from raiding medical retail operations. While the Obama administration has publicly stated this policy for many years, this move actually codifies the policy into law.

What does this mean for legal recreational marijuana? As of now, it is still illegal under federal law. However, under the Cole Memo the Obama administration has directed federal prosecutors to stop enforcing drug laws that contradict state marijuana laws. However, the memo did outline several areas of concern such as distribution to minors and association with illegal activity or criminal enterprises that could trigger federal involvement. We will continue to watch for additional signals from the Department of Justice.