Tag Archives: legal states

Bipartisan bill offered in House to protect marijuana users in legal weed states

Bipartisan bill offered in House to protect marijuana users in legal weed states

By Lydia Wheeler – 02/15/18 05:19 PM EST

A bipartisan bill was offered in the House on Thursday seeking to circumvent attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage stricter enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal.

Reps. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced the “Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act,” which would mirror a Obama-era memo that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal. Sessions rescinded the memo last month.

The lawmakers say their legislation would protect people from being prosecuted for legal medical and recreational marijuana use.

“To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of cannabis,” Correa said in a statement.

“Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the ‘Cole Memo’ created great uncertainty for these states and legal cannabis businesses, and put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws,” he said.

In rescinding the 2013 directive from then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Sessions did not explicitly call for action, but the move opens the door for federal prosecutors to begin pursuing cases against both businesses that sell weed and residents who use it.

The memo had prioritized other prosecutions ahead of marijuana use offenses.

In a statement, Gaetz called the former memo good policy but bad governance because it was not passed through an act of Congress.

“We are a nation of laws, not department-wide memos. We should not tell prosecutors to ‘pick and choose’ what laws to uphold,” he said. “When federal law conflicts with state laws and the will of the American people, it’s time to change the laws.”

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Sessions to rescind Obama-era rules on non-interference with states where pot is legal

By Laura Jarrett, CNN Updated 10:07 AM ET, Thu January 4, 2018

sessions mj

(CNN)  In a seismic shift, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce Thursday that he is rescinding a trio of memos from the Obama administration that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.

While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law.

Sessions: DOJ looking at 'rational' marijuana policy

Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

The main Justice Department memo addressing the issue, known as the “Cole memo” for then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole in 2013, set forth new priorities for federal prosecutors operating in states where the drug had been legalized for medical or other adult use. It represented a major shift from strict enforcement to a more hands-off approach, so long as they didn’t threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and cartels.

    The memo will be rescinded but it’s not immediately clear whether Sessions will issue new guidance in its place or simply revert back to older policies that left states with legal uncertainty about enforcement of federal law.

    The decision had been closely watched since Sessions was sworn in. He told reporters in November he was examining a “rational” policy.

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    First 2017 Marijuana Bill Introduced In Congress

    Rick Thompson January 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

     

    Image result for California Representative Barbara Lee

     

    In a year which has been heralded as a time of change for federal marijuana laws and policies, the first federal bill proposing a change has been introduced in the United States Congress.

    H.R. 331 was introduced January 5th and is sponsored by California Representative Barbara Lee (13th District). The official Congressional description of the bill’s purpose is, “To amend the Controlled Substances Act so as to exempt real property from civil forfeiture due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by State law.”

    At the time of this writing the bill’s language was not available on the Congressional website.

    The bill was simultaneously assigned to both the House Judiciary and House Energy and Commerce Committees. The Congressional website describes the Committee split in this way:

    Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

    The current Speaker of the House is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

    Rep. Lee has stated she will boycott the inauguration of newly-elected U.S. President Donald Trump.

    Concerns are rampant within the American marijuana industry and patient population that President-elect Trump will emulate other Republicans and move to curtail or eliminate legal and medical marijuana use in the states where voters have approved it. His nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for the post of U.S. Attorney General reinforced those concerns, as Sessions has a record of attacking marijuana use in speeches and actions.

    During a recent nomination hearing, Sen. Sessions did little to reassure anyone about his position. His evasive answers to questions related to his stance on cannabis use offered no insight, and by not revealing his position Sessions fueled the anti-Trump conversation nationwide.

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