"Supporters of programs to provide legal marijuana to patients with painful medical conditions are celebrating Attorney General Eric Holder's statement this week that the Drug Enforcement Administration would end its raids on state-approved marijuana dispensaries.

Federal raids on medical marijuana distributors continued at least into the second week of Barack Obama's presidency, when federal agents shut down at least two dispensaries in California on Feb. 3.

Holder was asked about those raids Wednesday in Santa Ana, Calif., at a news conference that was called to announce the arrests of 755 people in a nationwide crackdown on the U.S. operations of Mexican drug cartels. He said such operations would no longer be conducted... The new policy represents a significant turnabout for the federal government. During the Bush administration, DEA agents shut down 30 to 40 marijuana dispensaries, the agency said."

Feb. 27, 2009 - Alex Johnson , "DEA to Halt Medical Marijuana Raids," msnbc.com

Holder's Statement

US Attorney General Eric H.  Holder, Jr.
Source: www.usdoj.gov  (accessed Mar. 2, 2009)

Eric H. Holder, Jr., JD, US Attorney General, made a statement on Feb. 25, 2009 about President Barack Obama's policy on DEA raids of medical marijuana dispensaries in response to a question from a reporter:

Reporter: "Right after the inauguration there were some raids in California on medical marijuana dispenseries. Was that a deliberate decision by the Justice Department? Is that a prediction of policy going forward--do you expect those sorts of raids to continue?"

Holder: "No. What the President said during the campaign [see statement below], you'll be surprised to know will be consisent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement. He was my boss during the campaign, he is formally and technically and by law my boss now. So what he said during the campaign is now American policy."
Feb. 25, 2009 - Eric H.  Holder, Jr., JD 

 Watch the video of Holder's statement

President Obama's Campaign Statement

Barack Obama, JD, US Senator (D-IL) at the time of the quote, stated the following during a presidential campaign event in Nashua, NH on Aug. 21, 2007:

"I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It's not a good use of our resources."
Aug. 21, 2007 - Barack Obama, JD 

Protestor at DEA raid of medical marijuana dispensary in Hollywood, CA.
Source: Shay Sowden, LAist.com, July 25, 2007

Pro and Con Reactions to the US Attorney General's Statement about Ending DEA Raids of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Pro Ending DEA Raids Con Ending DEA Raids
Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), stated the following as quoted in a Feb. 27, 2009 msnbc.com story titled "DEA to Halt Medical Marijuana Raids," posted on msnbc.com:

"Holder's statement marks a dramatic shift in U.S. drug policy and is a major victory for the 72 million Americans who reside in states where the use of medical cannabis is legal."
Feb. 27, 2009 - Paul Armentano 
Mary Anastasia O'Grady, MBA, member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, wrote the following in her Mar. 2, 2009 opinion column "The Americas," published in the Wall Street Journal:

"At a press conference last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder indicated that President Obama would keep a campaign promise by ending federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. This means that the weed will remain illegal to transport and sell -- and thus highly profitable for criminals -- but there will be fewer repercussions for those who use it in states with liberal marijuana laws. The administration says it wants to end federal infringement on the rights of states.

But the consequence of the policy change will be stealth legalization -- which will create the worst of all worlds for countries like Mexico that are asked to fight supply."
Mar. 2, 2009 - Mary Anastasia O'Grady, MBA