Sessions Seeks to End Protection for Medical Marijuana

Sessions Seeks to End Protection for Medical Marijuana

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans who uses medical marijuana, you need to be aware of something going on in Congress that could affect your legal right to use cannabis. A few months ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to congressional leaders urging them to ditch an amendment that effectively prevents the Department of Justice from investigating or prosecuting cannabis users or sellers in states where medical marijuana is legal. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment first became law in 2014. It forbids the Justice Department from using any funds to prevent states from “implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Last year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the provision protects marijuana growers, patients and dispensaries who are complying with medical marijuana laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Those of us involved in our own state’s medical marijuana programs felt safe and legally protected – until the Attorney General wrote his letter. ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS Although the amendment has been attached to spending bills for years, Sessions wants to make sure it’s not in appropriations legislation for 2018. He stated in his letter that the court ruling gives dangerous criminals a loophole to protect themselves from prosecution. Sessions says the country is “in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” and the Justice Department “must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.” Sessions appears to be deliberately equating medical marijuana use with the so-called opioid epidemic. But an emerging tide of research indicates otherwise. Opioid overdoses have actually declined i n states where marijuana is legal and many pain […]

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