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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Groovy: Marijuana Advocates Ecstatic About Attorney General's New Pot Policy -- See Boost for Ammiano Legalization Bill

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 3:31 PM

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Supporters of legal marijuana -- medical and otherwise -- will be racking their brains to find some way to celebrate a potentially groundbreaking drug policy change announced by Attorney General Eric Holder today.

In short, the AG said Justice will only target those "who violate both federal and state law" regarding marijuana. Without going into specifics, this should mean an end to the ever-present worries that Drug Enforcement Agency officers will crash the party for those using medical marijuana in California the dozen other states that have approved medical marijuana. What's more, in Holder's discerning between federal and state marijuana law, pot advocates also saw a glimmer of hope for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's bill to legalize and regulate marijuana.

"Holder was just addressing medical marijuana, but I think this is a hint that the time to run roughshod over state law on drug policy is over," said Aaron Smith of Santa Rosa, the Marijuana Policy Project's California director. "Certainly this means that if we did enact a more sensible policy and regulate marijuana like alcohol, maybe President Obama would call off the dogs in that regard, too."

Ammiano's press secretary, Quentin Mecke, also took the AG's statement as a good sign.

"This really describes what we're seeing already which is that things are changing with regard to marijuana now," he said. "The AG's decision is ... almost landmark. Even the Clinton administration fought tooth and nail against medical marijuana."

Smith said San Francisco currently houses 24 medical marijuana dispensaries, based on numbers he's received from the state's health department. Life within them, he believes, will now be a whole lot more mellow.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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