prosecuting medical-marijuana users and caregivers who clearly comply with state laws was not a wise use of its resources. That declaration has dominated public perception of President Barack Obama's policy on the issue-minimal progress, but is a welcome improvement on his predecessors.
In reality, however, the Obama administration has attacked medical-marijuana providers on several fronts. Since January 2010, it has staged more than 90 raids on dispensaries and growers, according to figures collected by the patient-advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. That represents a pace double the Bush administration's, says ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. The administration has also threatened state officials with prosecution if they participate in licensing or regulating medical marijuana. The Internal Revenue Service has expanded auditing dispensaries for tax evasion, on the grounds that drug-trafficking enterprises cannot legally claim business-expense deductions.
In April, ASA gave Obama an F for his policy on medical marijuana. He's "no better than Bush," says Hermes.Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws calls that stance "hyperbolic." "The previous ten presidents did nothing," he says. Obama has "taken the federal hand off the scale a wee bit."