BOSTON (CBS) – This is exactly the scenario that people feared when the medical marijuana law was passed last year in Massachusetts – doctors and patients obeying the state law but still viewed as criminals by the federal government.
See, Massachusetts can do whatever it wants, but pot is still illegal on the federal level. And that’s why we wake up to a front page story in the Boston Globe about doctors at local community health centers being warned not to prescribe pot to patients.
It’s because those health centers fear losing federal funding, even if a doctor believes marijuana is the best treatment for a patient.
So here we are in Massachusetts, having passed a law with through legitimate means and still wondering if we’re allowed to follow it.
The feds’ position on this is evolving. No laws have been changed, but Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to address the matter last summer when Colorado and Washington State approved full-blown recreational use of pot.
Holder promised not to pre-empt those state’s laws, instead telling federal prosecutors to focus on things like keeping pot from minors and preventing drugged driving.
But let’s look at the big picture here. Massachusetts is one of 20 states to legalize medical marijuana and polls show a majority of Americans support it.
So unless Washington wants to pull funding from health care centers and arrest people for following their own state’s laws, this will have to be addressed in Congress.
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