Senator Gardner meets with Attorney General Sessions over pot policy

Frederick Owens
January 13, 2018

The same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a reversal of Obama-era guidelines on the enforcement of marijuana laws, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin set a date for a vote on medical marijuana in the state.

City Manager Rick Daniels, addressing the Needles Downtown Business Alliance on January 4, explained that Session's memo allows attorney generals in each state to decide their own priorities in marijuana enforcement and that indications are AGs in the 29 states that have legalized and regulated medical use are more likely to focus on recreational usage if enforcement efforts are pursued at all.

With a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia now allowing for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs, there will be significant attention on whether the DOJ follows through on the apparent aggressive stance signaled by the move to rescind the Cole Memoranda, whether Rohrabacher-Farr will be renewed and, whether Congress will pass laws that legalize, decriminalize or further restrict marijuana.

In 2013, the Justice Department issued the "Cole memo," which said that the federal government would not enforce the Controlled Substance Act's ban on marijuana in states that had legalized it.

Moves by states to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use have created a confusing landscape for patients to navigate.

We represent a state that posed the question of marijuana legalization to its voters not once, but twice.

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This does not necessarily mean the budding medical marijuana industry in Arkansas, approved by a 2016 ballot initiative, will be subject to prosecution by federal officials. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., threatened to hold up the confirmation of Justice Department posts in response to the announcement. "It didn't surprise me that we reached no consensus or ultimate decision by the end of the meeting, I think we still have our difference of opinion on this matter, and look forward to future conversations".

The second raised the question of using federally-apportioned water, i.e. Colorado River water, to grow a crop which is illegal under federal law. Gardner says Sessions assured him marijuana would not become a priority before Sessions was confirmed by the Senate. One tweet later, one policy later, a complete reversal of what many of us were told on the hill before the confirmation, what we continued to believe the a year ago.

"Consumers want to do things legally in general, but they don't want to do it at too much of a price", Whitney said.

"Local law enforcement should not waste their resources on going into legal state and local cannabis establishments", said Jones-Sawyer.

"No, what I would support is that we leave this issue up to the states", he told Fox News last week. For Connecticut, where medical marijuana is legal, it puts both patients and the businesses that distribute it at risk.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in September that the marijuana policy was under review for possible changes. Sessions called their hard work and thoughtful approach "unnecessary".

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