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DOJ's pot memo creates big decision for US Attorneys

12 January 2018

Did Sessions' marijuana memo restore the rule of law?

Sessions has blamed the illegal use of marijuana and heroin for rising violence in America.

It quoted Sessions as saying the move "simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles".

That survey and another conducted by Strategic Marketing & Research Insight group showed that "recreational cannabis is of limited interest to US leisure travelers and is not a motivator of travel to a destination", Wooden said.

State lawmakers have been concerned about Sessions' approach to marijuana from the moment he was appointed by President Donald Trump.

"Tourism has been a part of every cannabis industry, whether it's Colorado or Washington or OR, in a substantial way", Gordon said, adding that his clients have reported that as many as 30% to 40% of their cannabis customers are tourists.

States with legalized marijuana are now grappling with this issue in light of the recent position of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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

The attorney general's announcement sent a ripple of fear and uncertainty through the new industry, where many say they feel like they've only come out of the shadows to now face possible prosecution. It would remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug, and end federal prosecution for marijuana offenses in states that have approved marijuana legalization. But a growing list of states have legalized marijuana in some form within their borders.

"We see it through tours, art classes, bed and breakfasts that there's an industry springing up around the travelers coming to states for [marijuana]", Gordon said. "However, we must now do so in the context of nebulous federal interaction..." Yet, marijuana possession remains a crime on the federal books.

Maryland has licensed dozens of medical cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries.

"I was disappointed to see the order, because I wanted to see the industry have a little more time to prove itself before something like that happened", the mayor said.

Jake Van Wingerden, chairman of the Maryland Wholesale Medical Cannabis Association, said in a statement that cannabis companies remain "laser-focused" on getting the drug to patients in the state.

Even with the apparent change in direction from the Trump administration, those in the medical cannabis industry have some protection - for now - through a provision called the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. The Cole's memo had addressed the initiative taken by the Washington and Colorado to Ballot - initiate the legalization of the Recreational marijuana. Prop. 64 prohibits public consumption of marijuana, which would include sporting events, though businesses can get a license for on-site consumption, she said.

The Cannabis Control Commission said it'll continue to implement the state law, allowing for the sale and adult use of recreational marijuana.

Those who work with people who are drug-addicted all say the same thing - substance abuse and gateway drugs go hand in hand. Trump has said that he still stands with Sessions. Sessions has been outspoken about his views against marijuana and his opinions that drug enforcement should be increased across the board.

Marijuana is still illegal federally.

That's still the case: In all, 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam have passed laws allowing the use of the plant for medicinal purposes. California proposal would make it a sanctuary state for marijuana.

In a memo, Sessions asked federal lawyers to consider the seriousness of the crime and its impact "in deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws". When marijuana was "legalized" in Colorado, traffic-related deaths due to marijuana rose from 13% to 20%.

But marijuana opponents applauded the move. Federal prosecutors are overstretched, and only bring a small number of marijuana prosecutions as it is. "This is a victory". In Washington state alone, the marijuana industry paid Dollars $280 million in taxes in the last fiscal year.

DOJ's pot memo creates big decision for US Attorneys