The Obama administration is liberalizing federal policy on laws governing the use of medical marijuana.
The new guidelines, issued Monday, say that the Department of Justice will not prosecute those who use and supply marijuana for medical purposes as long as they conform to state laws.
"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana," Attorney General Eric Holder said.
'But we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," he added.
That is a huge departure from the Bush administration's policy, which enforced federal laws despite state laws allowing the use of medical marijuana.
Currently 14 states allow marijuana for medical use including: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Advocates say marijuana is effective in treating chronic pain and nausea, and many other ailments.