ibusinesslines.com September 23, 2018

California Commissioner Condemns Session's Move Against Legal Pot

08 January 2018, 02:40 | Melissa Porter

California Commissioner Condemns Session's Move Against Legal Pot


Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he is effectively unleashing the hounds of the federal government on states that allow for the legalized sale of marijuana, ending a hands-off approach by the previous administration and ignoring promises made by his own boss, President Donald Trump.

Mr. Sessions' memo already drew the ire of representatives of states where Marijuana is legal.

The memo refers to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, where cannabis is classified as a drug in the same category as heroin. While Sessions' memo does not outline specific policy changes in terms of whether the feds will now go after people in legalization states, it certainly encourages federal prosecutors to do so.

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.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The US Justice Department on Thursday (Friday in Manila) reversed official policy that had tolerated the growing state-based movement to legalize marijuana sales, just three days after California formally permitted recreational use of the drug.

Arkansas voters took to the polls in 2016 to legalize the use of medical marijuana.

"We don't know what this means", Durrett said of Sessions' comments.

Robert Troyer, who was appointed an interim USA attorney for the District of Colorado by Sessions in November, said his office's decisions regarding marijuana cases would be guided by similar principles as before: "focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state".

Sessions said in a statement that the Obama-era policy "undermines the rule of law" and told federal prosecutors in his memo to "follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions" in deciding which marijuana-related activities to prosecute.

"The president believes in enforcing federal law - that's his top priority - regardless of what the topic is, whether it's marijuana or immigration".

Some prosecutors in legalization states issued statements on how they would proceed. She said Sessions' directive "simply gives prosecutors the tools to take on large-scale distributors and enforce federal law".

Q: Will this affect medical marijuana?

Former Republican Maryland state delegate Don Murphy, who now works in conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the AG's move, presumably sanctioned by Trump, is odd considering the populist wave in favor of decriminalizing marijuana across the country-not only in blue states, but places like Arkansas, the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, and with 53 percent of the vote.

Gillibrand urged fellow lawmakers to support legislation she proposed that would "keep the federal government out of the way when doctors and patients decide that medical marijuana is the best treatment for them".

Marijuana advocates from other organizations said Sessions' memo will set the clock back needlessly.

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

Wykowski said the fear of prosecution "could make investors more concerned about putting money into the industry". How heavily the federal government has to be involved to stop interstate commerce in marijuana is a practical legislative judgment about which the courts have no special expertise or authority.

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