Under the Obama administration, legal cannabis was protected by a single document.
This document was the Memorandum Colea memorandum that has dissuaded US attorneys from going after cannabis companies unless they violate both state and federal laws.
29 states and Washington DC currently have some type of cannabis program, either for adult use or for medical purposes.
On January 4, three days after recreational cannabis was legalized in California, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcement that he will rescind the Cole Memo.
Sessions go after cannabis
The Cole memo was submitted in 2013 by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
For four and a half years, Cole’s adherence to the states cannabis ruling is what has allowed cannabis businesses to thriveallowing millions of Americans safe access to the factory.
By reversing the Obama-era ruling, Sessions is giving federal prosecutors carte blanche to prosecute state-licensed cannabis dispensaries.
Canceling Cole’s memo gives federal authorities the chance to decide, seemingly on a whim, whether they want to use federal, taxpayer-provided money to take action against the companies.
Prior to state legalization campaigns, cannabis businesses were frequently raided and financial assets confiscated.
Raids and other drug war tactics have left patients without access to drugs, millions of unnecessary arrests of majority minority populations, and even led to increased levels of non-cannabis crime in neighborhoods that have experienced raids of dispensaries.
Right now, medical cannabis consumers and businesses are protected by another Obama-era dealthe Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment (formerly Rohrabacher-Farr). The bill prevents the use of federal funds to shut down medical cannabis clinics.
Unfortunately, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment has a long history of contention. The bill was due for renewal Jan. 19, but an impending Senate shutdown is delaying the renewal of the amendment.
Cannabis States Are Blindfolded, Pissed, And Ready For Action
Needless to say, states that have spent countless hours legalizing and regulating their new cannabis policies are pissed. The session’s endorsement of using federal funds to suppress state duties and deny voters their decision on cannabis is a slap in the face for millions.
In a one comment at Rolling Stone, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) expresses shock at recent attacks on cannabis states.
“It was a surprise,” he says. “This frees consumers up to 93 U.S. attorneys who, on a whim, could initiate enforcement action against legal, state-regulated activities.”
Yet it’s not just Democrats who are unhappy. Many Republican and swing states also support cannabis reform. In a comment reported by the Washington PostCory Gardener (R-CO) threatened to take action:
“I am prepared to take any necessary action, including detention of DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General fulfills the undertaking he made to me prior to his confirmation.”
Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky also expressed concern, saying, “I continue to believe this is a states rights issue, and the feds have better things to focus on.”
Still, some members of Congress hope Session’s attack on medical cannabis will inspire enough momentum for real change.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told Rolling Stone, “I hope this action gets a powerful reaction. It’s a movement that’s going to happen, and I’m glad to see I have partners on the Republican side of the aisle who are very spirited on this issue.
On Jan. 17, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced a House bill that would deprogram cannabis and encourage healing in communities damaged by the long-running war on drugs. decades.
The bill, called the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017was first introduced by Senator Cory Booker in August of the same year.
While those concerned about the future of cannabis are encouraged to reach out to their representatives and voice their support for the bill, its introduction to the house is a sign that even in dark times there are glimmers of light.
#Sessions #Threats #Cannabis #States #Ready #Act