In a May 1 letter to Congress, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked for authority to prosecute individuals in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use.
As reported by Tom Angell of MassRoots, the letter asks Congress to eliminate the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds for prosecution of federal marijuana offenses where states have passed medical marijuana laws authorizing such use. Angell obtained the letter from a congressional staffer. The authenticity of the letter has been independently verified by the Washington Post.
Sessions notes in this letter that marijuana is illegal under various federal laws and complains that the U.S. Court of Appeals has “interpreted this provision broadly to apply to both the Department’s actions that prevent states from implementing their laws regarding medical marijuana and to Department prosecution of individuals and organizations that operate under those laws.”
This, he believes, is “causing harm” to communities. The amendment, thus, only applies to the nine western states in the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction.
The attorney general argues that the nation is experiencing a drug epidemic and an upsurge in violent crime and want the Department of Justice to “have all the laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
Sessions holds that drug traffickers are operating “under the guise of state medical marijuana laws”, citing the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment and an article in the Denver Post about eight people from a trafficking operation who had obtained state licenses.
Also justifying the Justice Department’s position are findings by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that the use of marijuana has “significant negative health effects” and the denial of a rescheduling petition in 2016 by the Department of Health and Human Services and the DEA, which argued that marijuana does not have accepted medical use in the United States and is not safe for use.
Dana Rohrabacher told the Washington Post that “Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana.”
John Hudak of the Brookings Institution reminded the Post that the president indicated opposition to the amendment in a signing statement. Hudak believes that these actions “should make everyone openly question whether candidate Trump’s rhetoric and the White House’s words on his support for medical marijuana Continue Reading
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