Today Sessions said he'd be ditching policies from the Obama administration that set up some basic rules for marijuana use in legalized states. Ellen and Stu Smith are champions for the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain-and they believed something like this could happen.
In some states, recreational marijuana use has been legal for five years, and those states are vowing to fight this new memo.
According to NORML,-a group that promotes legalization of marijuana-medical marijuana protections are still in effect, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.
Robert Troyer, who was appointed an interim USA attorney for the District of Colorado by Sessions in November, said his office's decisions regarding marijuana cases would be guided by similar principles as before: "focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state". While Sessions technically gave federal prosecutors the right to go after anyone buying pot, marijuana attorney Brian Vicente doubts any government agencies would use self-admitted "finite resources" to bring charges against an average dispensary customer, especially one following Colorado state laws.
It's worth noting that the Rohrbacher-Bluemenauer amendment must be approved each year, so it will come up for a vote again this year.
"Colorado had every right to legalize marijuana, and I will do everything I can to protect that right against the power of an overreaching federal government", the Republican said in a statement.
"By not having that (banking) access they tend to be an all-cash business and that's subject to more criminality, and it makes it more hard to collect taxes because without a banking relationship you don't have an audit trail", Coffman said. The goal, he said, was to encourage a tightly regulated industry letting legitimate businesses operate but keeping cartels and gangs out.
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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.
In short, Sessions is giving federal prosecutors around the country more discretion about enforcing federal law in marijuana cases, even in the states where it is legal.
Congress passed legislation in 2014 protecting medical marijuana policies. To say this is an established industry with thousands of people and livelihoods depending on it would be an understatement. She has not publicly said what her position will be on marijuana and did not immediately respond Thursday to messages.
Sessions appointed Dayle Elieson, a Texas prosecutor, on Wednesday. Colorado has a new statewide plant-count limit (the cap of twelve applies to everyone including medical patients, unless they receive a plant-count extension from the state), but it falls to local and state law enforcement officials to enforce that.
Sessions called the policy "unnecessary", stating that marijuana remains "a unsafe drug" under federal law and that marijuana activity is "a serious crime".
"President Trump has recognized medical marijuana as an appropriate exception to federal enforcement policy, but he has not said the same thing about recreational use", he said.