Obama vs. Marijuana: What is the deal?

Michael Scherer writes about President Obama's medical-marijuana policy and the increasing federal intervention on medical marijuana on TIME.com. For the online piece and a related magazine feature, Scherer spoke with "nearly a dozen people" in the medical marijuana industry, three U.S. Attorneys, White House officials and local officials who oppose the federal crackdown.

Snip:

Despite Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign, federal prosecutors have lost faith in the ability of state and local officials to control a booming commercial industry for a drug that is still illegal to grow, possess or sell under federal law. As a result, a once broad exemption from prosecution for medical marijuana providers in state where it’s legal has been narrowed to a tiny one.

Furthermore, the fact that state laws clash with federal law in 16 states and the District of Columbia makes it all but impossible for state and federal law enforcement to work together cooperatively to develop a functional system for what Obama still claims to support: access to medicinal marijuana for the legitimately ill in states that approve of the practice. So the nation is left with an uneasy status quo: The federal government is not trying to eliminate medical marijuana altogether, but it has decided that it cannot stand for the commercialization or large scale production of marijuana for the stated purpose of helping the sick, even when that production is technically within the bounds of state law.

The result of that complex and conflicting array of laws? Cases such as the IRS action on Harborside Health Center, recently blogged here on Boing Boing.

Read the rest here, and do also check out his related magazine piece titled, "Hot Pot. How Barack Obama’s medical-marijuana plans went up in smoke."

Photo: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES via TIME. A bowl of medicinal marijuana is displayed in a booth at The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo April 18, 2010 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif.

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