April 25, 2018

Costello goes on attack after Sessions' marijuana crackdown

12 January 2018, 10:19 | Taylor George

Costello goes on attack after Sessions' marijuana crackdown

Costello goes on attack after Sessions' marijuana crackdown

If a state says it's legal to use, grow, and sell marijuana both recreationally and medicinally, what right does the federal government have to disagree?

News reports from across the nation indicated early Thursday morning that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had made a decision to rescind the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era policy that set new standards for how federal prosecutors handle marijuana cases.

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

Gabbard again called on Congress to pass her bi-partisan Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (HR 1227), which removes marijuana from the federal controlled substances list.

If the Attorney General's reckless decision returns us to the decades of fear and failed policy, it would threaten the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans.

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

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was opposed by cannabis legalization supporters for good reason as he's had a long history of supporting Reefer Madness policies. Maryland's medical cannabis program just started selling the drug to patients last month.

"States administering medical marijuana dispensaries pursuant to state law should be left alone by the U.S. Attorney General's office", Costello said.

"It throws all of the state laws into chaos", said Frosh, a Democrat.

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In the footnote, it identifies the Cole and Ogden documents as among the guidance to ignore; which he says were undermining the rule of law. "This may raise significant public safety issues and make it harder to ensure that businesses are complying with state laws and regulations-which is the exact opposite intended effect of the 2018 Guidance".

From the moment Sessions was confirmed to his post as Attorney General, many cannabis advocates wondered how long the Cole memo would survive. "However, we must now do so in the context of nebulous federal interaction..."

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

Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney who co-wrote Colorado's 2012 constitutional amendment legalizing recreation marijuana, said the industry will closely examine the background of any new US attorney nominees. Every lawmaker, including those in West Virginia, illegally attempted to override federal law. He said Sessions' action goes against the will of Colorado voters, who legalized marijuana in 2014. Asked about the president's position Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he supports enforcing federal law. The former Alabama senator and federal prosecutor once joked, according to Senate testimony by a former colleague, that the Ku Klux Klan was "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana".

Call your US Representative and your two US Senators about this.

"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.

On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump promised that he would leave marijuana legislation in the hands of the states, a position that echoed with his Republican base.

There are some exceptions to this new law for certain medical marijuana patients.

The author of the Obama administration's policy, James Cole, told the AP it was meant to put states on notice that they had to regulate the industry and the federal government would still prosecute cases that threatened public safety. Governor Kate Brown is also working hard to protect the 19,000-plus jobs and millions in revenue that marijuana businesses have brought to the Beaver State.

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