Several states — but not New Mexico — have received warnings from the Department of Justice over their medical marijuana programs, leading them to reassess their programs, according to the Associated Press. The “ominous-sounding letters” have gone to the states in recent weeks.
The letters — sent to Colorado and Washington, among other states — are perhaps a signal that the federal government is further abandoning its stated hands-off approach to medical marijuana in the states.
The AP reports:
The Department of Justice said two years ago that it would be an inefficient use of funds to target people who are in clear compliance with state law. But U.S. attorneys have said in their recent memos that they would consider civil or criminal penalties for those who run large-scale operations — even if they are acceptable under state law.
In a letter to [Washington Gov. Chris] Gregoire, Washington state’s two U.S. attorneys warned that even state employees could be subject to prosecution for their role in marijuana regulation. The letter does not specify how that would happen, but the implication is that state workers who are involved in approving and regulating the sale of an illegal drug are committing a crime.
According to KSFR News, such a letter hasn’t come from New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney yet — but that could change.
“[The U.S. Attorney's] office says he is studying New Mexico’s medical marijuana law to determine if a warning is needed,” KSFR reported.
Gov. Susana Martinez opposes New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, but a bill that would repeal the law was pulled by the sponsor during this year’s legislative session.