State acting responsibly on marijuana

19 January 2018, 02:04 | Isaac Mcdaniel

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Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the policy, referred to as the Cole Memo, set out guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that had legalized marijuana to focus their resources on larger-scale concerns such as trafficking and continue to rely on state and local law enforcement to act in accordance with state laws and regulations.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice has rescinded the protections offered to cannabis businesses through the Cole Memorandum, the OR cannabis industry has been left to wonder what would happen in our state regarding federal enforcement.

Has any of this talk of a federal crackdown on marijuana anxious you or the company about doing business in MA? Schedule 1 (the highest) contains the most tightly regulated substances, because they have a "high potential for abuse" and "no now accepted medical use in treatment in the United States".

"With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states", Gardner, R-Colo., tweeted. The state is also exploring allowing use in social club settings.

A bill introduced in the Colorado Senate would require that a tracking agent be applied to medical and recreational marijuana and industrial hemp plants - even though the technology hasn't been invented yet. A move like this by the U.S. Department of Justice, while disappointing, creates an opportunity for us to create real and longer-lasting change in Congress that ultimately could wind up being better for businesses.

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In short, marijuana has become a states' rights issue.

In Washington, Colorado and Oregon, all states with a legalized market, both violent crime and property crime rates have dropped post-legalization, and marijuana arrests in Oregon have decreased from 15 percent to 4 percent of all drug-related arrests, according to a December 2016 Oregon Health Authority report on marijuana use and health effects.

The attorneys general wrote Tuesday that marijuana sales were expected to grow to $20 billion by 2021, but noted that the money can't be regulated or insured, forcing many businesses to operate in a cash-only system.

"T$3 he states and federal government share a strong interest in protecting public safety and bringing grey market activities into the regulated banking sector", the letter to leadership read. Sessions countermanded Justice Department policy when he said, "Today's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all us attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country". It also immunizes bank officers and employees from prosecution for performing transactions with pot retailers or cultivators. The question is, should a person who uses marijuana - even for a medicinal reason - lose his or her right to purchase a firearm, or even own one? Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen.

With Congressmen Mike Doyle and Brendan Boyle having signed a letter with 70 other members of Congress rebuking Sessions for his position on cannabis, Pennsylvania now joins just a handful of states with active marijuana reform with decriminalization ordinances underway.



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