nsucurrent.com
nsucurrent.com January 21, 2018


Feds change marijuana policy, which could affect businesses involved

08 January 2018, 02:51 | Colleen Roy

President Donald Trump with his daughter Ivanka at the White House in Washington. Molly Riley Pool via Getty Images file

President Donald Trump with his daughter Ivanka at the White House in Washington. Molly Riley  Pool via Getty Images file

The memo that Sessions withdrew, issued in 2013 by James Cole, a deputy attorney general in President Barack Obama's Justice Department, advised federal prosecutors to let states enforce their own marijuana laws.

On Jan. 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that enables the federal government to intervene in the legalization of marijuana throughout each state.

An Obama-era policy that made is possible for legalized marijuana to become a reality in some states has now been rescinded by the Trump administration. "These principles require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community".

Since 2014, federal lawmakers have attached language to spending legislation that explicitly bars the Justice Department from spending resources to enforce cases in states where medicinal marijuana is legal.

"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. Ron Wyden became the first U.S senator to co-sponsor New Jersey senator Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act, which would make marijuana legal at the federal level and incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws. He said he was withdrawing an Obama administration policy that was meant to defer to state cannabis laws.

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual USA attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

The federal perspective, however, has never changed.

"The (Sessions) memo will mobilize us, mobilize the people around the country" who support legalization, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Costa Mesa (Orange County) Republican who has sponsored the budget amendments, said in a conference call by the House Cannabis Caucus.




Federal law still says marijuana, for medical or recreational use, is illegal. Brian Stretch and Joseph Harrington, the U.S. Attorneys for the respective districts, stated their opposition to legal pot even as the states where they work created the systems for selling retail marijuana.

"We believe USA attorneys' offices should be opened up to bring all of these cases that are necessary to be brought". But in the aftermath of Sessions' decision, he seems to have backtracked from that position.

Growing Marijuana The Sessions memo includes the word "cultivation", which technically puts the plants in your basement in the same boat as LivWell's 100,000-plus-square-foot warehouse. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Sessions' announcement was "disruptive to state regulatory regimes." Sen.

"That would be his top priority, and that is regardless of what the topic is, whether it's marijuana or whether it's immigration", Sanders told reporters.

"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.

"Strong as we are on state's rights here in Texas", Williams said.

One issue that may be potentially litigated is how the new memo affects medical versus recreational marijuana use. "We had no idea it was coming, and like you, we woke up this morning to the news that there was new direction from Attorney General Sessions", she said.

While lawmakers were quick to defend OR state law, Coos County cannabis dispensaries seem to be uncertain, but ultimately unworried about the changes.



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