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Medical Marijuana Advocates Encouraged by Primary in Oregon Attorney General Race

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Medical marijuana was a key issue in this week’s Democratic primary race for Oregon Attorney General. A retired state judge who was supported by advocates of the issue defeated a former federal prosecutor who oversaw raids on medical marijuana growers.

Former Oregon Court of Appeals Judge Ellen Rosenblum won the primary with the help of large campaign contributions from groups supporting medical marijuana, including Drug Policy Alliance, the Associated Press reports. She defeated former interim U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, who has criticized the state’s medical marijuana law. Oregon has 55,000 registered medical marijuana users.

Rosenblum promised to make enforcement of marijuana laws a low priority.

“What we’re hoping, and what we assume, is that any U.S. attorney who’s thinking of running for statewide office in a Democratic Primary anywhere in the country is going to think twice now before adopting a highly aggressive posture toward the medical marijuana law,” Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director Drug Policy Alliance and its campaign branch, Drug Policy Action, told the AP.

Last summer, the U.S. Justice Department announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws. Currently the medical use of marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Law enforcement agencies have cracked down on some marijuana growers, dispensaries and clubs in states including California, Colorado and Oregon.

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