House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today responded to the Justice Department's guidance directing federal prosecutors to no longer investigate or prosecute medical marijuana distributors in states where it is legal as long as the distributors are in compliance with state regulations. According to the Obama administration, federal prosecutors have better things to do.
Ranking Member Smith criticized the decision because it weakens federal enforcement of drug laws:
"The Administration's new guidelines directing federal prosecutors to ignore local medical marijuana dispensaries that allegedly operate in compliance with state laws fly in the face of Supreme Court precedent and undermine federal laws that prohibit the distribution and use of marijuana.
"For the past ten months, the Obama administration has promised robust drug enforcement efforts to help address cartel-operated marijuana fields in our national parks and drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. But we cannot hope to eradicate the drug trade if we do not first address the cash cow for most drug trafficking organizations--marijuana. Illegal marijuana sales in the U.S. help fund the illegal drug trade.
"By directing federal law enforcement officers to ignore federal drug laws, the Administration is tacitly condoning the use of marijuana in the U.S. If we want to win the war on drugs, federal prosecutors have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute all medical marijuana dispensaries and not just those that are merely fronts for illegal marijuana distribution."