Medical marijuana advocates were ecstatic Monday at word that the Obama administration is backing off prosecution efforts in California and 13 other states that allow use of the drug in treating pain and other ailments.
But they remained concerned that the new policy announced Monday is still vague and that oversight of marijuana dispensaries remains a hodgepodge of local regulations.
"It's going to mean a sigh of relief for those that are doing the right thing, an acknowledgment that you don't have to worry about being prosecuted," said Lanette Davies, who operates Canna Care, a medical marijuana dispensary in North Sacramento.
"Even though you know you're doing the right thing, you're paying taxes, you have a business license, still it was always there in the back of my mind," Davies said. "I've never even had a speeding ticket, and yet I could have done 10 years in prison for providing for patients, so knowing now that the federal government won't come in is a big relief."
California voters approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons in 1996, and since then marijuana dispensaries have opened the length of the state to provide the drug to patients with physician referrals.
But for years, the federal government refused to recognize the law, and the Clinton and Bush administrations pursued prosecutions against medical marijuana providers.
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