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Grassley slams Justice Department’s medical marijuana decision
The decision this week by the U.S. Justice Department not to prosecute people using, prescribing or distributing marijuana in states where it is legal is a step towards legitimizing drug use, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said.
The medical use of marijuana is legal in 14 states and is being considered in several others, including Iowa. During the Bush Administration, agents raided several centers that dispense marijuana in California, where state law permits its medical use.
In a memo sent earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made it clear that federal officials would no longer prosecute medical marijuana use that was allowed by state law, even if it broke federal regulations.
“I think that marijuana is a gateway to harder drug use,” Grassley said. “Medical marijuana brings a certain amount of legitimacy to an illegal drug, even though it attempts to do it in a legal way. We have a federal law that is intended to outlaw its use. That federal law ought to be enforced. It was enforced in the previous administration and I think having a national program against drug use is very, very important.”
Grassley said that while some of the people who produce and distribute marijuana may be law-abiding citizens in the eyes of their state, people should not forget that “most of the marijuana that flows into the United States comes from the drug lords.”
The Iowa Board of Pharmacy held hearings earlier this month regarding medical marijuana. State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, introduced a medical marijuana bill during the last legislative session, although it did not make it out of committee.