What Federal Changes Mean for Ohio's Medical Marijuana Program

08 January, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • Lines swell outside of Berkeley Patients Group as consumers eagerly lined up on the morning of Jan. 1 to get a taste of legal cannabis

Today, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions issued a memo that rescinds previous Department of Justice guidance on marijuana enforcement - which mainly directed enforcement at criminal enterprises. The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, maintains that federal funds can not be used to prevent states from "implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana". According to an October 2017 Gallup Poll, 64 percent of Americans backed legalizing marijuana for recreational use - the highest level of support the group has found since it began asking people about it in 1969.

Freedman, who formerly worked as Gov. John Hickenlooper's director of marijuana coordination, said the uncertainty will make law-abiding people less likely to get involved in the market and make it harder for banks and insurance companies to justify the risk of working with marijuana businesses.

The memo also protected states from federal prosecution under the controlled substance act.

"The 10th Amendment says what it says", he said, noting that as a conservative he's been able to appeal to other Republicans on states' rights grounds alone. They hoped to avoid a patchwork of prosecution strategies, Walsh said.

Advocacy groups said the Sessions revision not only flouted the president's previous commitments to local democracy but also amounts to bad public policy. "After all, this is 2018 not the 20th century", California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

What does it mean to the residents of the 29 states and District of Columbia where medical cannabis is legal?

Q: How will this affect states that have legalized recreational marijuana?

Q: Can congress reverse Sessions' action - and would lawmakers be inclined to do so?

Patrick McCarthy, spokesman for the NY cannabis association, sidestepped a question on how revocation of the Obama-era memos would affect medical marijuana providers, practitioners and patients.

Under the Attorney General's new memo, we have more freedom and flexibility to make decisions that make Colorado safer by prosecuting individuals and organizations for marijuana crimes that significantly threaten our community safety.

"This is a direct betrayal of President Trump's campaign promise, which he made in Colorado", Kopel told TAC on Thursday. To say this is an established industry with thousands of people and livelihoods depending on it would be an understatement. He pointed to the chill this would put on businesses, landlords, and particularly banks that are still hesitant to work with cannabis clients, despite the millions of legal dollars changing hands.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, tweeted that the issue "must be left up to the states", ran counter to what he had been previously told by Sessions and threatened to hold up confirmation of DOJ nominees.

The move by Sessions has generated outrage among advocates for legal marijuana as well as some conservatives who believe the federal government shouldn't overrule the wishes of state government on issues like this. Just Sessions' announcement has already sparked backlash from politicians on both sides of the aisle, he noted.

Sessions's long-dreamed-of crackdown has been expected by critics since he was confirmed past year.

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