The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday it will not block state laws legalizing medical marijuana, causing an immediate celebration in the Bay Area.
The business of medical marijuana has always been a potential source of income for cities and the State of California, but federal laws have gotten in the way.
Now, local dispensaries say they've gotten a "green" light.
That sigh of relief you hear is from medical marijuana growers and their patients, and people who work and shop at dispensaries like Amsterdam's Garden in San Jose, where, along with a large selection of medicinal weed, there's now a feeling that a federal weight is off their shoulders.
Washington says it won't interfere in state laws governing medical or recreational marijuana.
"It's been wishy-washy, as far as it goes for the other states too,” said Amsterdam’s Garden’s director Xak Puckett. “Because they'd first legalize it, and we'd hear about some raids, but we want that to end. I think this is definitely progress for the future.”
The feds say marijuana will still be classified as an illegal drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. But state laws legalizing it will, under the new ruling, be largely left alone.
That’s good news for Amsterdam's Garden and its future business prospects.
“People do deserve good medicine, and people do deserve access,” Puckett said.
NBC Bay Area also talked to Harborside Health Center in Oakland. The much larger dispensary says the federal government "took a historic step back from the failed drug war today."