December 12, 2018

Stone Challenges Sessions on Legalized Pot

12 January 2018, 08:21 | Devin Moran

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The Department of Justice would argue that it is Constitutionally-mandated to uphold the laws passed by Congress.

Sessions, who has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and has blamed it for spikes in violence, had been expected to ramp up enforcement.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom had some harsh words for the Attorney General in a statement: "Today, Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration destructively doubled down on the failed, costly and racially discriminatory policy of marijuana criminalization, trampling on the will of California voters and a year-long bipartisan implementation process led by Governor Brown and the California Legislature".

At a time when an opioid epidemic of mammoth proportions continues to rage across parts of the US, to see the federal government return to its misguided and publicly unsupported campaign against cannabis is not only disheartening, but unsafe.

So, of course, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has chose to ramp up the fight against - legal marijuana.

But what effect will this legislative change have? The executive branch is obligated to enforce federal law, whether they like it or not.

The Back Porch, a "Premier Cannabis Retailer" in Wenatchee says they're not too anxious about Sessions revoke of the Cole Memo. While the memo didn't preclude prosecutors from going after marijuana growers, it urged them to use their judgment in states where "robust regulations were being enforced to control the potential negative side effects of legalization", particularly the sale of marijuana to minors.

We'd all be better off if the federal government left this national drug experiment to the laboratory of the states.

Among the guidance that Sessions rescinded was the so-called Ogden Memorandum of 2009, which instructed federal prosecutors not to pursue cases against medical marijuana patients and distributors who complied with state laws.

"This new policy - whatever it ends up being - makes the risks and uncertainties much greater", he said.

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level in the US, however, the Obama administration had adopted a hands-off approach, giving states more control over regulation.

That includes promoting concealed carry legislation and attacking sanctuary status for immigrants to this week's decisions to crack down on legalized marijuana and permit offshore oil drilling. Supporters of the bill say the hodgepodge of state laws undermines the constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense. Asked about the president's position Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he supports enforcing federal law.

She said she thinks Sessions' announcement will backfire on him.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in a landmark 2015 ruling, finding that the Constitution requires states to issue same-sex marriage licenses and to recognize those licensed in other states.

"We'll have to digest it a little bit more and see what the alternatives are that he's looking to provide, if any", Hill said. Many Americans have used medical marijuana for conditions such as cancer and glaucoma.

This new information is to create further confusion to the now emerging medical and recreational marijuana industries in many states across the USA and the now ongoing regulatory laws and rulings in effect at the state level. 22News spoke with an attorney in Northampton on how Sessions' actions could impact our state. Harris has been a longtime opponent of legalizing marijuana and fought the legalization of the drug in Washington. He said that the policy the federal government has had in Colorado to only go after large illegal traffickers and manufacturers will not change.

Last Thursday, Trump's Justice Department - headed by AG Jeff Sessions - overturned a 2013 Obama era policy concerning marijuana.

While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law. It loosened the reins on federal prosecution for marijuana offenses.

If Mr. Gardner desires that the federal government take a lenient approach with regard to the possession, manufacture and distribution of marijuana, the more, in my view, correct and proper strategy is to amend the Controlled Substances Act and the manner in which that statute classifies marijuana.

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