In October, the Obama administration eased the long-standing marijuana policy which made its use subject to prosecution even in states where it was legal for medicinal purposes. Although the move was praised by many, there have also been critical voices, some of them coming from former administration officials.
One of them is Bob Weiner, a former drug policy spokesman who left the White House in 2001. He recently stated that the new law—which instructs federal prosecutors to stop prosecuting those who use marijuana for medical purposes in the 13 states where it is legal—may lead the administration to get "more than they bargained for."
"Prescription marijuana use may explode for healthy people," he said, adding that as many as 90 percent of purchases at clinical distribution centers are based on false pretenses, according to some law enforcement statistics.
He also questioned the effectiveness of smoking marijuana for conditions such as pain and nausea.
The new approach to marijuana is expected to attenuate the consequences of the 2005 Supreme Court ruling stating that the federal government could continue to enforce U.S. law barring the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana, even in states that had legalized it.
However, Attorney General Eric Holder stressed that law enforcement will still go after traffickers who are hiding behind claims of compliance.