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Medical Marijuana and the Law
A neon sign is shown at the entrance to the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco, Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. Pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers should not be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow medical marijuana, prosecutors were told in a new policy memo issued by the Justice Department. (AP)

The entrance to the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco, Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. Pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers should not be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow medical marijuana, prosecutors were told in a new policy memo issued by the Justice Department. (AP)

Before 1914, drug use was no crime in America — and millions of Americans were addicted to tonics peddled off the back of wagons and laced with opium or coca. Then came the big crackdown.

Now, “medical marijuana” is on the move. Fourteen states permit its use. And pretty broad use. LA has a thousand medical marijuana shops. In Colorado, thousands of young men have suddenly complained of chronic pain and signed up.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice officially said it will not prosecute what the states accept. Is defacto decriminalization on the way?

This hour, On Point: Marijuana, medical marijuana, and the law.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from Washington is Josh Meyer, reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He reported on the Justice Department’s new policy on medical marijuana, announced last week. LATimes.com offers an interactive map of medical marijuana dispensaries in LA, and a map showing the states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Also from Washington we’re joined by Peter Cohen, adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University and the chair of the Physicians Health Program of the District of Columbia Medical Society.

And from Los Angeles we’re joined by Mark Kleiman, professor of policy studies and director of the Drug Policy Analysis Center at UCLA. His most recent book is “When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment.”

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