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The Vox Box

Federal Gov’t no longer allowed interference with state medical marijuana laws, says US Attorney General

The DEA has notoriously undermined the legalization of medical marijuana in states such as Portland, California, Colorado, and our very own Washington by arresting distributors and users of marijuana intended for medical purposes.  Though given legal amnesty by their respective state governments, medical growers and medical users, the latter of whom are often seeking self-therapy through marijuana use for such diseases as lymphoma, cancer, glaucoma, and AIDS, remained unprotected by federal law despite the 1996 chain reaction involving California's legalization of medicinal cannabis and the several states that followed suit.  But it seems that, in the spirit of the Obama administration long-hailed promise of change, things have actually changed.

During his campaign, Barack Obama declared that raids on medical marijuana patients would no longer occur in states that had legalized the medical use of THC.  Attorney General Eric Holder, in response to recent DEA raids which brought doubt to this hopeful promise, stated on CNN, "What the President said during the campaign . . . will be consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement... What [President Obama] said during the campaign... is now American policy."

In 2001, Obama publicly announced his stance on the legal status of marijuana.  Of course, he did not push for legalization, whether out of opposition to the stance or out of a conscious understanding that no pro-legalization candidate would be able to make significant headway in the election, but he did support the decriminalization of marijuana, which would make the penalty for possession, if any.  Twenty-one states have already taken this step, though some have not done so on a statewide basis (such as Washington, where lenient penalties in Seattle differ from harsher ones in Spokane), while many conservative states resist such measures with great passion. Some are speculating that marijuana may be entirely decriminalized by the end of Obama's presidency, with inevitable but slightly superficial comparisons being drawn between FDR's adamant and complete repeal of alcohol prohibition, saying something along the lines of "It's time for a drink."

What do you think?  Is it a good thing that medical marijuana patients can no longer be prosecuted by federal officials?  Will Obama decriminalize recreational marijuana use with the words "it's time for a toke"? And is this bad or good?

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at