Jeff Sessions ending federal policy that let legal pot flourish
08 January, 2018, 02:42 | Author: Hope Soto
Oregon, being one of the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, reacted to the news in a different ways.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is not happy with U.S. Attorney General Sessions' recent marijuana enforcement memo rescinding Obama administration guidance that enabled states to legalize marijuana without federal intervention. On January 4, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman made similar remarks at a press conference. "If they intend to prosecute, it would shut us down".
The Obama-era policy of going easy on marijuana just went up in smoke, but it remains to be seen whether the new directive of Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have any impact on New York's nascent medical marijuana industry. They are surrounded by attorneys who have spent their careers arguing federal cases before judges who can make their displeasure with a USA attorney known in sentencing decisions and in the scheduling of cases.
The State of OR has had a lot of trouble recently with overproduction of cannabis leading to illegal exportation to other states.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose home state of Alaska has legalized recreational marijuana, also weighed in with a statement, saying Sessions' announcement-which she had repeatedly warned him against making-was "disruptive to state regimes and regrettable".
Dispensaries are still open despite Sessions's wishes.
The Sessions memo did not distinguish between enforcement against marijuana used for recreational versus medicinal purposes. Purchasing and possessing pot products is still legal in Colorado and other states that have regulated it.
A majority of states allow the use of medical marijuana and eight, including the entire West Coast and the District of Columbia, allow recreational use.
Growing marijuana might be a little riskier on a large scale.
But it's looking like US Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not agree.
Another 21 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, including red states like Arkansas, which passed its ballot referendum in 2016, and Florida, which put its own measure over the top by a whopping 71 percent at the polls.
Sessions appointed Dayle Elieson, a Texas prosecutor, on Wednesday. But if you're flying under the radar with a small-but-illegal operation, why risk it?
"Marijuana has been under a prohibition regime entirely in the time that the industry has expanded to where it is today", said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, representing more than 1,500 marijuana-related businesses. However, she doesn't expect much change in the way they already handle marijuana. While Vicente isn't telling any of his clients to head for the hills, he is telling them to be extra careful. Justice Department officials wouldn't say whether the move is intended for federal prosecutors to specifically target marijuana shops and legal growers.
Based on his experiences with Troyer, however, he adds that Colorado business owners should feel relatively safe if they're following the rules, at least compared to businesses in northern California and eastern Washington.
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said his state will pursue "all legal, legislative and political options to protect its reforms and its rights as a state". And while Sessions' memo does not instruct federal prosecutors to bring more marijuana cases, he could order stricter enforcement in the future. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment now protects state-compliant medical marijuana patients, caregivers and businesses from federal persecution, but it is only in effect until January 19; after that it will be reconsidered by a House-Senate conference committee.
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