What Federal Changes Mean for Ohio's Medical Marijuana Program
- Author: Tracy Klein Jan 08, 2018,
Jan 08, 2018, 2:48
That memo guided USA attorneys that "the federal government has traditionally relied on state and local law enforcement agencies to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws".
The pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project said Sessions' shift would only encourage the illegal drug trade and harm people using marijuana as a medicine, which 29 states have legalized. "I'm a states person". Trump told a TV news reporter that the decision to legalize marijuana should be left "up to the states".
Other state officials expressed disappointment.
In Colorado, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said his office will continue to focus on "identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state".
She said the Justice Department's new guidance "simply gives prosecutors the tools to take on large-scale distributors and enforce federal law".
USA attorneys might continue to decide not to take up marijuana cases that don't fall under the Obama-era rules.
What this does is create an inevitable stand-off over the 10th Amendment rights of seven states and the District of Columbia that have fully legalized cannabis, including California, which officially made pot legal on January 1.
But many states, including North Dakota and Minnesota, have passed laws decriminalizing the drug for medical reasons. The tone set by Sessions today puts people in those states on notice as well. Session's memo repeals that Obama-era policy. As of July, the state had brought in $505 million in cannabis-related taxes and fees since sales officially began in 2014.
"This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything in my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said. Before Sessions' announcement, experts predicted the USA market might reach $50 billion by 2026. Federal prosecutors likely won't come after you for a cultivation unless you're growing and distributing marijuana on a large scale.and If you're growing on a scale that the DOJ would investigate, you're probably not going to listen to Sessions either way. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner stated shock at the decision, as it would apparently contradict private assurances received from Mr. Sessions before his appointment. "What he has done is effectively given discretion to the U.S. Attorneys on which cases to prosecute".
Prosecutors in Western states wanted guidance from the Justice Department when the likelihood of state marijuana legalization became clear in 2010 and 2011.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said the state Department of Justice would "continue to make sure Oregon's marijuana industry thrives under our carefully considered state regulatory requirements".
One issue that may be potentially litigated is how the new memo affects medical versus recreational marijuana use. Right now 12 are poised to consider new laws in 2018.
However, Jeff Sessions' stand point is strictly speaking correct. He said the Trump administration's position "defies facts and logic".
"Attorney General Sessions has made a decision to use the power of the federal government to attack the ability of states to decide their own laws". His legislation has support on both sides of the aisle, he insists, but members who oppose it have kept it from coming to a floor vote.
If not, that will leave even more people and businesses vulnerable. A federal law blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed. Congress would have to change the law for states to be entirely free of federal intervention.
"I think Brown and OR won't be able to be so casual with this", he said.
"This needs to be a state choice".