Oakland, CA -- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided a medical marijuana dispensary today in South Lake Tahoe, California, in the first days of the new Obama Administration. Even though President Barack Obama had made repeated promises during his election campaign to end federal raids in medical marijuana states, many high-ranking Bush Administration officials have yet to leave office. For example, still at the helm of the DEA is acting Administrator Michele Leonhart, who has been responsible for numerous federal raids in California, following in the footsteps of her predecessor Karen Tandy. Neither Eric Holder, President Obama's pick for U.S. Attorney General, nor a new DEA Administrator, have taken office yet. [Americans for Safe Access]
It’s too early to accuse Obama of turning his back on the patients he pledged to defend, but it’s a clear sign that the new president will have to take concrete steps towards ending the DEA’s controversial crusade in California. It won’t stop just because he said it would. He has to actually do something to stop this.
We’ll soon have new leadership at the Dept. of Justice and it will become perfectly clear to everyone what Obama’s priorities really are. Until then, we’re stuck with George Bush’s drug war under Barack Obama’s watch. The new administration has done its best to avoid publicly discussing marijuana policy, so let’s hope they understand that ending these raids promptly is the best way to avoid ugly headlines.