This week, Politico.com summarized the status and fear of the cannabis industry following last months election when 8 states voted to legalize cannabis (bringing the total to 29 states) and this months nomination of Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for attorney general, by President-elect Donald J. Trump.
“In Florida, medical marijuana won nearly 2 million more votes than Donald Trump. Added up, 65 million people now live in states that authorize adult recreational use; more than half of all Americans have access to medical marijuana; and almost everyone else lives in a state that permits CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that helps treatment of juvenile epilepsy. It’s easier now to identify the six states that have done nothing to end the prohibition on marijuana than the ones that are breaking away from the federal law that treats marijuana the same as heroin…
…As a U.S. Attorney in Alabama in the 1980s, Sessions said he thought the KKK “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.” In April, he said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and that it was a “very real danger” that is “not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.” Sessions, who turns 70 on Christmas Eve, has called marijuana reform a “tragic mistake” and criticized FBI Director James Comey and Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch for not vigorously enforcing a the federal prohibition that President Obama has called “untenable over the long term.” In a floor speech earlier this year, Senator Sessions said: “You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink… It is different….It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal…
…There’s little to stop the attorney general nominee from ignoring the will of millions of pro-pot voters.
…With little more than the stroke of his own pen, the new attorney general will be able to arrest growers, retailers and users, defying the will of more than half the nation’s voters, including those in his own state where legislators approved the use of CBD. Aggressive enforcement could cause chaos in a $6.7 billion industry that is already attracting major investment from Wall Street hedge funds and expected to hit $21.8 billion by 2020.”
You can read the full article from the Source here: Jeff Sessions’ Coming War on Legal Marijuana.
We have our work cut out for us in the cannabis industry to ensure the new Attorney General does not push this agenda item, ignoring the will of the people in legalized cannabis states.
The marijuana industry fought hard for progress and didn’t make it out of the shadows until 2013. The recent major growth of the industry is based on the embracement of simply a memo, put out by he Obama Administration, which does not have any support in Federal Law under the new administration.
The more government, scientists and consumers learn more about cannabis, the more the argument’s provided by people like Jeff Sessions seems like unvalidated propaganda.
The Politico Article also present the threats to the adoption of state amendments to allow for legalization of cannabis, such as legislation that restricts the Justice Department from using funds to go after state-legal medical marijuana programs.
“Like the Cole Memo, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment in California is not yet the law of the land, and because of new rules implemented by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, amendments related to guns, abortion, LGBT issues and marijuana will no longer be permitted—a change that Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie, sponsor of a bill to protect industrial hemp programs, considers “an affront to regular order” and “a travesty to our democracy.”
Like all things related to this election and President-elect Donald Trump, what will happen once in office seems unpredictable. However, while the industry is use to keeping our heads low and our aims high, we will certainly be more on defense in 2017 than we have been in years. James Higdon says it best:
“Without any protection from Congress, every marijuana grower and dispensary owner who came out of the shadows to become a taxpaying member of the legal recreational cannabis industry in Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Alaska has exposed himself to potential criminal prosecution by a DOJ run by Sessions.”
And all of the people with an eye on a recreational cannabis license in California, Nevada, Main and Massachusetts will enter the industry at a time riskier than ever before. It seems we have a lot to loose and the odds stacked higher against us.