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Resistance to federal legalization of Cannabis: The Jeff Sessions conundrum

On April 24, 2018

Resistance to federal legalization of Cannabis: The Jeff Sessions conundrum

Federal Government Won’t Target States with Legalized Cannabis Use
State’s Legalization of Cannabis Protected?

President Trump “promised a top Senate Republican that he will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized [cannabis]” reports The Washington Post. Sen. Cory Gardner from Colorado vowed to block all Department of Justice nominees from confirmation, until the Trump administration rectified Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reversal of prosecution guidelines for cannabis use.

Per a CNN article, Sessions announced in January of this year “the rollback of Obama-era guidelines that stopped the federal government from enforcing its anti-[cannabis] laws in states that have [cannabis]-friendly laws.” This caused states with legalized adult-use cannabis, like Colorado, to become concerned with the legality of their voter-approved measures—potentially putting citizens at risk for prosecution, and the tax dollars generated from cannabis in jeopardy.

Gardner’s block seemed to have worked, and after a discussion with the president, he indicated he will move forward with the DOJ confirmation hearings.
Support for Cannabis Legalization at All-Time High

Session’s reversal was concerning to cannabis patients and consumers in the nine states and the District of Columbia that have legalized adult-consumption without a prescription; and the 21 that legalized the medicinal use of cannabis with a doctor’s prescription. The same CNN article notes that “64% of Americans say they support the legalization of [cannabis]… the highest mark in more than four decades of polling.” This put the DOJ policy reversal policy at odds with the majority of Americans.

While cannabis is not legalized at the Federal level at present, the President’s pledge to “support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all” is a good sign for states who wish to keep cannabis accessible to its citizens without fear of federal prosecution. This move by the President will also be good news to the handful of states that could potentially legalize adult-use of cannabis by the end of this year, including Michigan, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

Marijuana legalization by the numbers – CNNPolitics

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