USDOJ: medical marijuana decision due in ‘short order’

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice said the agency plans to respond “in short order” to the state’s request for guidance on its proposed medical marijuana program.

In April, state Attorney General Paula Dow requested clarification from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on the federal policy regarding state sanctioned medical marijuana programs.

Dow’s request followed letters from U.S. Attorneys in Washington State and California to officials in those states threatening prosecution of state employees overseeing medical marijuana programs.

“As the State’s chief legal adviser to all of the departments in the Executive Branch, many of which are participating in carrying out the medical marijuana legislation, it is critical that I properly advise them as to the potential criminal and civil ramifications of their actions in carrying out their duties,” Dow wrote. “Accordingly, I ask that you provide me with clear guidance as to the enforcement position of the Department of Justice relative to New Jersey’s medical marijuana legislation and the scope of the entities and individuals who may be subject to civil suit or criminal prosecution.”

Dow followed with a second letter last month, but to date, Holder has not replied.

Friday,  DOJ spokeswoman Jessica Smith said Holder is continuing to review the letter and will respond shortly.

The Department has received the letters and is currently reviewing and formulating a response, which will be offered in short order.

Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday during a television talk show that he was halting the program until Holder provided the guidance. Friday, program advocates decried the delay and called for a protest outside the Statehouse.  Only six protesters showed up.

USDOJ: medical marijuana decision due in ‘short order’