How the Justice Department Seems To Have Misled Congress On Medical Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Last year, the Justice Department warned Congress that a medical marijuana provision in an appropriations bill could  “limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well.” The “informal talking points,” according to a Justice Department memoobtained by Tom Angell, a legalization advocate and writer for, were “intended to discourage passage” of the provision, which was in fact passed and signed into law.

It turns out that the guidance was wrong. In the memo, written by the chief of the Department’s appellate section and dated Feb. 27 of this year, the Justice Department says the provision does not place “any limitations on our ability to investigate and prosecute crimes involving recreational marijuana.”