Medicine

Jeff Sessions ending federal policy that let legal pot flourish

Jeff Sessions ending federal policy that let legal pot flourish

"It's time for members of Congress that believe in state rights and drug reform to work together to pass bipartisan legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow individual states to regulate marijuana as they deem appropriate", McCarthy said. "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".

"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", Sessions said in a statement.

That statement includes rescission of the Cole Memo, issued in 2013 and long regarded as providing a safe haven by cannabis entrepreneurs.

The announcement reversed a President Barack Obama-era memo, written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, discouraging prosecutors from pursuing marijuana-related charges in states - including OR and Washington - where it has been legalized.

James Dunn covers technology, biotech, law, the food industry, and banking and finance.

Justice Antonin Scalia, concurring in the decision, started from the premise that the federal government has the power to prohibit commerce in marijuana among the states.

Sessions' move sends a message to federal officials throughout the country that prosecuting people under federal law for using marijuana in states that have legalized marijuana is no problem.

Other state officials expressed disappointment.

Wykowski said the fear of prosecution "could make investors more concerned about putting money into the industry". Liberals and conservatives alike hold their policy commitments more deeply than any federalist principles, and they invoke those principles as weapons of convenience in their fights over policy. "The voters of California and Los Angeles have spoken and we will continue doing our job of reasonably regulating the cannabis industry in spite of Washington running amok".

In every state where marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes, local voters at their respective ballot boxes overwhelmingly supported the move.

The policy being rescinded is known as the Cole memorandum, and was enacted as a response to several states passing more lenient responses to non-violent marijuana crimes, and a few years later recreational use.

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". Colorado Senator Cory Gardner stated shock at the decision, as it would apparently contradict private assurances received from Mr. Sessions before his appointment.

State Sen. Richard "Tick" Segerblom, a Democrat and the dean of marijuana legislation in Nevada, anxious the Trump administration reversal of the hands-off Obama-era policy would snuff out a budding business.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden from OR, where marijuana is also legal, similarly blasted the move.

"What Jeff Sessions wants to do is roll back all of that". 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. They also declined to specify what message the attorney general is sending to the pot industry, which is expanding in states with their own more lenient laws.

Q: Will this affect medical marijuana?


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