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U.S. Attorney Articulates District Policy on Enforcement of Violations of Federal Drug Laws

May 22, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. - U. S. Attorney Amanda Marshall issues the following statement regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

Since taking office, I have repeatedly and consistently articulated the long-standing position of my office regarding enforcement of the marijuana laws. Recent press reports have badly distorted those policies. Here is what I have consistently said:

• We will continue to aggressively prosecute large-scale marijuana growers and distributors. Often operating under the false pretext that they are supplying only "medicine," marijuana growers have been distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana throughout the United States and earning themselves massive profits. This conduct is indefensible under either federal or state law.

• Marijuana dispensaries who sell drugs for profit are illegal under federal and state law. Those who operate such businesses, and the landlords who permit this activity on their property, have been placed on notice that we are considering both civil and criminal enforcement actions.

• Federal law prohibits growing, possessing, and using marijuana, even in small amounts. No state can change federal law. Unless and until the U.S. Congress changes the marijuana laws, it is my sworn duty to uphold those laws, and I will do so.

• My office has limited resources to apply to serious crimes: international and domestic terrorism; drug trafficking organizations; violent street gangs; child exploitation; mortgage and investment frauds. My office has never applied those resources to small scale users of marijuana, who are clearly and unambiguously compliant with Oregon law, and that policy remains unchanged.

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