Currently, 29 states have medical marijuana laws.
We'd all be better off if the federal government left this national drug experiment to the laboratory of the states. The feds vowed to only intervene if marijuana was ending up in the hands of high profile gangs or children.
"Previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately", Sessions told the USA attorneys based in all 50 states in a letter Thursday.
I'm talking about the cases where tons of marijuana get moved from Jamaica through the U.S. Sessions states in the one-page memo that the DOJ has "finite resources" and prosecutors should follow "the well-established principals that govern federal prosecutions" which include "the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community".
Fortunately, even as Sessions seeks to target legal marijuana, Congress is moving forward with legislation to thwart that effort.
He has made the decision also to reverse the previous administration's policy to not go after high mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenders.
"I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would decriminalize marijuana by removing it from the federal controlled substances list, treating it the same as alcohol and tobacco".
In California's Eastern District, newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney McGregor "Greg" Scott grew up in Humboldt County, deep in California's famed "Emerald Triangle" marijuana-growing region.
Sessions has yet to call for specific enforcement but did tell USA attorneys to follow standard guidelines and priorizine serious crimes that hurt the community as a whole. If Trump appoints a new federal attorney for Colorado things could change.
Banks and insurance companies refuse to do business with cannabis companies because marijuana is illegal under federal law and most financial institutions are federally insured, forcing marijuana businesses to operate in cash.
"I do not believe there's any argument, because a state legalized marijuana, that the federal law against marijuana is no in existence", he told radio host Hugh Hewitt in October.
In the past decade medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire. It is illegal to obtain medical marijuana without a prescription, and with Sessions ordering prosecutors to pursue harsh sentences against offenders of recreational marijuana, then more strain will be placed on the judicial system and prisons. The war on drugs in America, including on marijuana since 1937, has had similar results: a large amount of money spent to negligible gain. Six pot shops confirmed they were selling recreational marijuana Saturday after receiving their state licenses the day before. We have continued the fight to implement sound cannabis policies across the state and will continue to do so. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable.
Even with the apparent change in direction from the Trump administration, those in the medical cannabis industry have some protection - for now - through a provision called the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. But it doesn't necessarily need them.
The effects of this new law have already been seen locally. The former Alabama senator and federal prosecutor once joked, according to Senate testimony by a former colleague, that the Ku Klux Klan was "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana". "The failure to do so will invite chaos, which will do more to harm public safety than to restrict legal marijuana".