The federal government officially declared that marijuana has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous and addictive drug. It will remain in the same class of drugs as heroin.You can read all the details and history of the effort to reclassify marijuana as a lesser drug that heroin. This effort even pre-dates the "War on Drugs." It is also a prime example of how slowly the Federal Government works.
What does this mean? Most likely a Constitutional challenge on States' Rights I would assume. As more and more states are legalizing medical marijuana, and at least one state, Connecticut, actually reclassifying marijuana possession as a misdemeanor, the Feds are basically saying they don't care and will still go after the growers of medical marijuana. If a state legalizes medical marijuana, does the Federal Government have the right to ignore that and raid them. Or, are the states in violation of the Federal Controlled Substance legislation and in violation by their passing of such laws.
With the states facing major budget issues and prisons all over the United States dealing with overcrowding, there is quite a bit of financial justification for ignoring the marijuana issue. I can't find the post now, but it is said that U.S. Law Enforcement spends almost 4 billion dollars a year in marijuana enforcement. I can think of better places for 4 billion dollars to be spent, such as schools. That number doesn't include the cost to incarcerate either. Imagine how much could be saved by letting the petty marijuana people go? Again, put that money into the schools instead.
Obama campaigned to do something different about the marijuana issue, treating it has a health issue and not a criminal issue. You can read Ed Brayton's blog post on this from 2009 where Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to end medical marijuana raids. Then this more recent post from a couple of days ago where the DOJ has done a complete 180.
Insanity is often described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The "War on Drugs," especially has it pertains to marijuana, has been a complete and dismal failure. So, the natural reaction is to keep doing what we are doing in hopes it will somehow lead to a different result.
Update [7/11/2011] So, the Feds say no acceptable medical use. What does the science say? Here is a Scientific American article that tries to address this question.