Marijuana, Federalism, and the Courts

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

That all changed after she joined the state's medical marijuana program.

The memo effectively handed control of marijuana enforcement and regulation to the states, except in certain circumstances.

Even before Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to roll back protections for state programs legalizing marijuana use, questions about the implications of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program had begun to gain steam.

"When we see an industry, that is dependent upon investors, people who are putting their hard-earned money into the industry, this sort of move does not help whatsoever", Hancock, a Democrat, said Friday on CNBC's "Closing Bell". "What does this really mean?' You know, 'Why don't we pause for a minute?'" said Jeff Sharkey with the Medical Marijuana Business Association.

While a number of states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, it is still illegal under federal law.

Sessions, who was a federal prosecutor in Alabama at the peak of the U.S. war on drugs, "has always been a critic of marijuana and has likened it to heroin", says the BBC. Now prosecutors could target legal growers or dispensaries.

That said, Bradley added that Florida needs to continue moving forward with the medical marijuana system that voters approved.

"I stand with the voters of California in defending California's efforts to legalize cannabis", California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement on Thursday.

"A far more serious threat to public safety right now is opioids, and I worry that resources could be diverted from opioid enforcement to marijuana enforcement".

Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, Congress has generally banned the cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana, Sessions noted. When Sessions was in the Senate, he said things like, "good people don't smoke marijuana". The new uncertainty about how prosecutors will deal with this will only make it harder.

The state's former "marijuana czar", Andrew Freedman, said Sessions' only point was to create confusion but that the Justice Department can not force states to make pot illegal. "Our officers are commissioned through the state of Washington to enforce state and local laws".

Nevadans have spent an estimated 126-million dollars at retail marijuana shops since they opened four months ago. He also said he's working with other state attorneys general, the governor's office and the Legislature to identify the best course of action.

Lelling said his office wants to reduce violent crime, but did not directly address Sessions's policy change.

Other reports by iNewsToday