Federal raids on medical pot clubs to end

February 26, 2009 7:32:29 PM PST
There's been a dramatic change of course from the White House concerning medical marijuana. The Obama Administration has followed up on a campaign promise and announced federal raids on medical pot clubs are over.

SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

Ed Rosenthal is a medical marijuana activist from Oakland. He was arrested in a federal raid in 2002. His high profile case is now before a U.S. appeals court. It's said to epitomize the clash between state and federal marijuana laws and now there's a dramatic change.

"I think it's an excellent first step for the administration," says Rosenthal.

During the presidential campaign Barack Obama had promised no more federal raids on state authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet after his inauguration, in fact earlier this month, the DEA moved in on four California clubs. Now the new attorney general has re-iterated the president's position.

"What he said during the campaign is now American policy," says Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General.

"It's really going to change the whole attitude of the police department because they don't have federal back-up," says Rosenthal.

Rosenthal hopes the White House shift is the first step towards legalization. At the very least he believes drug enforcement raids are a thing of the past. Oaksterdam University in Oakland trains students in all aspects of the cannabis industry.

The school's president hopes the new American policy has other benefits for medical marijuana operators and patients.

"Hopefully we'll see a drop in price which will result in a drop in crime, because one of the problems right now is prohibition keeps the price up and that makes it more attractive to criminals," says Richard Lee from Oakserdam University.

ABC7 contacted several law enforcement authorities and experts to get their take on this dramatic shift. No one wanted to talk on the record. One told ABC7's Carolyn Tyler, "I don't want to be out in front on this one."

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget