Embattled medical marijuana professionals, take heart: A key Democratic lawmaker is questioning the Obama administration over its crackdown on cannabis dispensaries, growers and the MMJ industry as a whole.
Nancy Pelosi – the highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives – issued a statement this week challenging the government’s strong-arm tactics against medical marijuana businesses over the past year.
Why is this important? Pelosi’s statement provides a direct challenge to Obama from a close ally and bolsters the growing chorus of voices coming out against the crackdown.
“I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California,” Pelosi said. She added that those actions seem to “undermine a policy that has been in place under which the federal government did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws providing for medicinal marijuana.”
It marks her first public comments about the ongoing series of raids spearheaded by the Obama administration.
While encouraged by her statement, some observers criticize Pelosi for taking so long to speak out.
Pelosi, whose office is in San Francisco, had remained silent as government pressure forced hundreds of dispensaries to close in her city and across California over the past year.
The timing of her comments is interesting on several levels. Obama is gearing up in earnest for the November election, and Democrats are circling the wagons to present a united front and build support for the president. Pelosi’s comments also come a full month after the raids on Oaksterdam University and other MMJ sites associated with the school’s founder, Richard Lee. While other San Francisco and California lawmakers condemned the raids immediately after they happened, Pelosi kept quiet.
Regardless, the MMJ industry will take support where it can get it, and Pelosi certainly is a good person to have on your side given that she has the president’s ear.