by Derek J. Sheriff and Bernie LaForest

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” So said presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, at a 2007 campaign event in Nashua, NH. And although proponents of medical marijuana later had reason to doubt him after his DEA agents raided a California dispensary, Attorney General Eric Holder soon reassured everyone that there would be change.

After a press conference held by Holder that took place shortly after the president’s inauguration, many celebrated what they interpreted as the fulfilment of his earlier promise that under his administration, the Justice Department would no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries that were established legally under state law.

But was any such a promise in fact ever made? If one examines Obama’s campaign promises regarding medical marijuana and listens carefully to the answer Eric Holder gave at the press conference mentioned above, it’s possible to conclude that no protection or immunity was ever promised for organizations or individuals that cultivate or distribute medical marijuana in any state for any reason. Here’s what was actually said at the press conference that got so much attention.

A reporter made an observation and asked Holder a question about medical marijuana, saying:

“Right after the inauguration there were some raids on California medical marijuana dispensaries. Was that a deliberate decision by the Justice you expect those raids to continue?”<