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Calling the Bluff?

I'll have a piece in tomorrow's Phoenix about the state of Rhode Island's "compassion center" program.

The Obama Administration has warned officials here and across the country about a possible crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries. US Attorneys have sent sharply worded letters to governors and state legislators to that effect. And the Justice Department recently issued a memo that essentially backs the prosecutors' aggressive posture.

Governor Chafee has placed a hold on the state's three compassion centers. And he is not the only governor to dial back in the face of the Obama Administration's new tough-on-pot stance.

But lost in all the heated rhetoric is this question: would the administration, which is clearly hoping that the states will rein in medical marijuana's explosive growth, actually crack down on those that defy its warnings? Medical pot is enormously popular, after all. Fully 8 in 10 Americans support it.

Advocates are asking Governor Chafee to call the president's bluff, to let them brave possible federal prosecution. We'll see where he shakes out.

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