On Marijuana Law, No Politician Is a True Federalist

Faith Castro
January 8, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he is effectively unleashing the hounds of the federal government on states that allow for the legalized sale of marijuana, ending a hands-off approach by the previous administration and ignoring promises made by his own boss, President Donald Trump. A USA attorney in Colorado said he would not change his approach toward marijuana prosecutions, while a US attorney in MA said he would pursue federal marijuana criminal cases.

The latest numbers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show 44 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. Federal agencies have "not historically devoted resources to prosecuting individuals whose conduct is limited to possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property". Those principles include weighing the seriousness of a crime, deterrent effect of prosecution and the cumulative impact of crimes on a community.

Q: How will this affect states that have legalized recreational marijuana? The memo discouraged prosecutors from going after people participating in the marijuana trade in states where recreational marijuana is legal, except in cases with aggravating factors.

The governor said he expects to meet with the new top prosecutor in Nevada after she arrives.

Weed users in the United States are living in a pretty precarious situation.

The new memo likely "reduces the level of comfort in the industry until it sees how U.S. attorneys actually implement it", Cole added. They had closed down several hundred before Congress intervened with budget restrictions that halted the lawsuits - one of them targeting Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the nation's largest licensed cannabis dispensary - as well as most federal criminal prosecutions.

"This extremely misguided action will enable a federal crackdown on states' rights with regard to marijuana policy", said Matthew Schweich, interim head of the Marijuana Policy Project.

Troyer says his office has always focused on prosecuting marijuana crimes that "create the greatest safety threats" and will continue to be guided by that goal.

Sessions said in a statement that the Obama-era policy "undermines the rule of law" and told federal prosecutors in his memo to "follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions" in deciding which marijuana-related activities to prosecute.

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The State of OR has had a lot of trouble recently with overproduction of cannabis leading to illegal exportation to other states.

"In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis..." California users of medical marijuana insisted that the law should not apply to them because their state had legalized their behavior.

Sessions drew a swift and angry response from Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who said the AG was "trampling the will of the voters".

Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus wishes to see legal marijuana continue to flourish.

Grant Osborn replaces a jar of marijuana to the display case at Sweet Relief in Astoria.

However, Jeff Sessions' stand point is strictly speaking correct.

Opened in 2013, Sweet Relief was Clatsop County's first medical marijuana dispensary and started selling to recreational customers with others in October 2015.

Sessions' new memo does not explicitly set forth how prosecutors should treat medical marijuana, though a senior Justice official explained that prosecutors wouldn't do anything contrary to any current federal law.

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