OR responds to end of Obama-era pot policy

Trevor Jackson
January 8, 2018

Regardless of a state's marijuana legalization policy, under federal law, marijuana use has been and still is illegal.

Today Sessions said he'd be ditching policies from the Obama administration that set up some basic rules for marijuana use in legalized states. "It's because the states want to collect all of those taxes (on marijuana), so it becomes this tax issue", he said.

Patrick McCarthy, spokesman for the NY cannabis association, sidestepped a question on how revocation of the Obama-era memos would affect medical marijuana providers, practitioners and patients.

Billy Williams, the USA attorney for OR, released a statement saying he and his peers have been directed to use reasoned discretion in prosecuting marijuana-related crimes.

"One wonders if Trump was consulted - it is Jeff Sessions after all - because this would violate his campaign promise not to interfere with state marijuana laws".

Q: Will this affect medical marijuana? "There is a belief that that is inconsistent with what federal law says", a senior Department of Justice official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Politico.

The policy put in place under Democratic former President Barack Obama, outlined by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole in a series of memos, had discouraged federal prosecutors from pursuing marijuana-related criminal cases in states that had legalized the drug.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican, who faces a tough party primary this year, said Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, both Republicans, should meet with federal officials about the policy change. But they can push legislation to protect marijuana sales.

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"What Jeff Sessions wants to do is roll back all of that". He said the Trump administration's position "defies facts and logic".

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

Murphy has been working on getting a federal medical marijuana bill passed since 2000. What supporters have achieved is to pass a 2014 rider to the annual spending bill that has prevented federal funds from being used to prosecute medical marijuana cases in states that allow it.

If not, that will leave even more people and businesses vulnerable.

"It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission", Sessions said in a statement. If not, people who have depended on cannabis and cannabis products to ease suffering-whether it be from epileptic seizures and the side effects of chemotherapy, or chronic pain and glaucoma-may soon be at risk.

"I think Brown and OR won't be able to be so casual with this", he said.

"This extremely misguided action will enable a federal crackdown on states' rights with regard to marijuana policy", said Matthew Schweich, interim head of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is executive editor of The American Conservative.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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