January 4, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice would reestablish federal marijuana laws as a priority. His announcement goes against the Obama-era Cole Memo guidelines that deprioritized enforcing federal marijuana laws and gave states the freedom to establish their own legislation. The new memo stirred confusion in the states that have already legalized recreational use of marijuana, such as California where cannabis became legal just a few days before Session’s announcement. Users in states where marijuana is legal will not have trouble with state officials but could be prosecuted by federal officials. This contradiction has stirred fear and confusion in the booming industry. It is still unclear how the changes will affect medical marijuana. LEARN MORE
Some entrepreneurs think Session’s action was more of a political show than an actual threat. Sessions has always been a strong opponent to marijuana and is quoted comparing cannabis to heroin and saying “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and that he thought the KKK was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” Many feel that marijuana regulation should be similar to that of alcohol because marijuana is safer than alcohol and even has some health benefits. A Gallup Poll recently revealed that a record 64% of Americans support marijuana legalization. Executive director of the Drug and Policy Alliance Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno points out that marijuana legalization is much more popular than Sessions or Trump and she expects it to outlive them both. LEARN MORE
- NORML – Working to reform marijuana laws and keep legalization a state issue.
- Marijuana Policy Project – Working to make marijuana policy more like alcohol policy and reduce or eliminate penalties for marijuana use.
- As always, contact your state’s elected officials and voice your concerns or support.
This brief was compiled by Ann Furbush. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.