States Won't Back Down From Sessions On Marijuana

Monday, 08 Jan, 2018

When he rescinded the Justice Department's previous guidance on marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions left the issue to a mix of prosecutors who were appointed by President Donald Trump's administration and others who are holdovers from the Barack Obama years.

Although the drug is legal for recreational use in California, the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened up the possibility that growers and dispensaries could be prosecuted for violations of federal law, as marijuana is still a controlled substance at the federal level.

A total of five businesses are licensed to cultivate, manufacture and sell marijuana products for medicinal purposes in New York, according to the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association.

Under the state's medical marijuana law enacted in 2014, NY has 1,384 medical practitioners and 40,286 certified patients.

The State of OR has had a lot of trouble recently with overproduction of cannabis leading to illegal exportation to other states.

Federal law still says marijuana, for medical or recreational use, is illegal.

"We have hundreds of millions of dollars invested, tens of millions of dollars in taxes we're anticipating that we've already budgeted, and thousands of employees making a good wage who will be affected", Segerblom said.

"Going against the majority of Americans - including a majority of Republican voters - who want the federal government to stay out of the way is perhaps one of the stupidest decisions the Attorney General has made", Blumenauer said in a statement.

"We're moving forward as an industry and as a patient organization we're happy that things are moving forward here in Arkansas and we'll let things in D.C. play out as they will", he said. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Sessions' announcement was "disruptive to state regulatory regimes." Sen.

The pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project said Sessions' shift would only encourage the illegal drug trade and harm people using marijuana as a medicine, which 29 states have legalized. "I can't sit here and say whether it will or will not lead to more marijuana prosecutions", the official continued.

Lori Ajax, chief of California's Bureau of Cannabis Control, which oversees the state's regulation of the marijuana industry, said California was conferring with other states to respond to Sessions' action. It would be a little like if we reversed the prohibition of alcohol right now.

The new US attorney in Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the Senate in mid-December, called marijuana "a risky drug" in his statement on Sessions' action.

"The Camp David retreat is an opportunity for the President to bring together bicameral congressional leadership to discuss this year's legislative agenda", said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters. As long as Congress doesn't revise the law in accordance with the wishes of voters in at least 29 USA states, the Attorney General office is tasked precisely with applying it as is. She did not elaborate.

Retail pot dispensaries might be the symbols of legal marijuana, but they're hardly the only potential targets in Sessions's war on the plant.

"If they close down regulated access to cannabis, all they are doing is opening it up to the cartels and the black market", he said.

Acting Supreme Court Justice W. Brooks DeBow rejected the companies' contention that the law enabling medical marijuana production in the state meant to restrict the number of companies to five.

Q: Will this affect medical marijuana?

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual USA attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Legal marijuana business owners have the most to lose financially from the Sessions memo.

"Parents should be able to give their sick kids the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted".

"The cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana has always been and remains a violation of federal law for all purposes", she later said in a statement. The new uncertainty about how prosecutors will deal with this will only make it harder.

The change, he said, removes "clarity and consistency" for an industry that depended on it. He said the Trump administration's position "defies facts and logic".