Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Medical marijuana patients protest decision to shift policy on federal enforcement

Medical marijuana patients protest decision to shift policy on federal enforcement

This year legislators have - yet again - vowed to present legalization bills.

The Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug like heroin and proclaims it more risky than fentanyl and oxytocin (Schedule II), was passed by Congress in 1970. More recent figures are not available, according to co-director Beau Kilmer, though a report on the White House's National Drug Control Strategy in 2016 said 10.2 percent of the USA population, more than 32 million people, have used marijuana.

How legalization is already hurting California small pot farmers. We need leaders in Congress who will respect the wishes of the citizens of these several states, crafting policy that gives them space to practice healthy federalism on this issue.

Under CSA the Drug Enforcement Administration has the authority to remove a substance from the various schedules. Soon, with Nebraska considering medical use, Kansas may well be surrounded by states that allow varying degrees of legalization. "If cannabis businesses were legalized tomorrow and taxed as normal businesses with a standard 35% tax rate, cannabis businesses would infuse the USA economy with an additional $12.6 billion this year". In the coming days, I will send invitations to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement, public health organizations, OR marijuana interests and concerned citizen groups to attend a summit to address and remedy these and other concerns. He didn't mandate federal prosecution of cannabis cases but made non-prosecution less certain.

The influence of marijuana on a driver, the additional cost of enforcing those new laws while also policing the "black market" of pot, the allure to younger people because the drug is becoming a normal thing are all valid concerns raised by the California Police Chiefs Association. The attorney general said prosecutors should use their own discretion, taking into consideration the department's limited resources, the seriousness of the crime and the deterrent effect that they could impose.

A predictable hue and cry from the public followed the attorney general's recent marijuana announcement. Where is the Sanders bill to declassify marijuana? "Although we can not predict what decisions the federal government will agree to, our legislature will continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of all Ohioan's throughout the state". Trump's Republicans love states' rights.

Sessions revoked that document and others, citing the fact that pot remains illegal under federal law. Presumably he'd support delisting.

Armentano sees an immediate and real political fallout for Trump and the GOP in the wake of this decision, and takes the Republicans to task for approving Sessions' nomination, despite his history of draconian views on drug policy. Sessions' unwise move on marijuana may backfire.

"He should focus his energies on prosecuting criminals, not patients", Gaetz said.

Gaetz has a good point about the suffering caused by the prohibition of medicinal use of marijuana.

Currently, these states are protected under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment that prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Gaetz should consider proposing legislation.

Despite his best efforts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not yet found a way to overcome the "sin" of his recusal from the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. "I understand a lot of people might support it in general, but the devil's really in the details". My mandate now is to wisely regulate marijuana, not second-guess the will of the voters.

Sessions incurred Trump's ire when and whether there was any collusion with the president's campaign.

"The president's position hasn't changed, but he does strongly believe that we have to enforce federal law", White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters last week. "That would be his top priority, and that is regardless of what the topic is". States have been passing laws easing up on the prohibition of marijuana since 1973, when OR and Texas took the first plunge to decriminalize weed.

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