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Momentum seems to be on the side of medical marijuana recently.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department announced that the federal government would stop focusing on prosecuting marijuana in states that have legalized its use August 29. The memo impacts the Nineteen states and the District of Columbia that have medical marijuana laws, as well as Colorado and Washington which legalized recreational use. The Justice Department will be working with the states to create regulations that reduce violations in eight areas such as preventing kids from obtaining marijuana and stopping drugged driving.

The new direction from the Justice Department will also allow banks to work with marijuana businesses that operate within the regulations determined by the state and federal governments.

The announcement came on the heels of an apology from former Surgeon General candidate Dr. Sanjay Gupta. (http://tinyurl.com/keffp2d) At the beginning of August Gupta admitted that he was wrong to deny the medical benefits of marijuana. Gupta said he no longer believes marijuana has a high risk of abuse or should be regulated as a schedule one drug. He even released a documentary on the issue. (Watch it here http://tinyurl.com/luftwer)

More recently Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain appears to be leaning towards legalization. McCain told a crowd at a town hall event in Phoenix, “Maybe we should legalize. We’re certainly moving that way as far as marijuana is concerned. I respect the will of the people.” This appears to be a new direction for the senator, but echoes his daughter Meghan McCain, who supports legalization.

All of this is hopefully leading towards the legalization of medical marijuana. With that in mind Senator Patrick Leahy held a Senate hearing September 10 to focus on federal marijuana policy and how it affects state laws. Leahy is a former prosecutor and current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. King County, Wash., Sheriff John Urquhart said his department welcomed the new direction from the Justice Department during the hearing. Urquhart and Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper both told the legislators that they look forward to working with the federal government and support the governments eight guidelines for regulation.

Locally there will be a medical marijuana rally at the Ventura City Hall September 16. The city is considering legislation to outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries. Please come support medical marijuana in your city and county.