According to Governing, 26 states, and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana consumption. An April 2017 CBS News poll showed 61% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal nationwide. The number is higher – 71% — who believe the federal government should stop their efforts to stymie marijuana sales.
In fact, there is a very real legal loophole that exists between federal laws that criminalize the use of marijuana in any instance, and state laws, which are growing more lenient on this beneficial plant every year.
Then there is Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is so out of step with the majority of Americans that he said, “We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”
Bridging the Gap between Federal and State Pot Laws
Sessions asked the President’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety to review existing laws and codify federal response to marijuana usage in light of changes to state laws. In early August, their recommendations were that Sessions tread lightly by basically following the rules established under the Obama administration – namely, leave it alone, Jeff.
We imagine this was not the response that Sessions wanted.
The Associated Press pointed out that there is a real lack of federal resources to pursue this issue. They obtained portions of the report, which has not been made public to date. The AP concluded that the feds would not begin, “dismantling what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar pot industry that helps fund schools, educational programs, and law enforcement.”
While waiting for the report, Sessions petitioned Congress to prosecute legal medical marijuana distributors who are acting under state jurisdiction. Sessions wanted to start a new “War on Drugs,” despite the fact that science has ruled that marijuana is medically beneficial.
NAS Says Pot is Clinically Effective
Some of the opposition to Jess Session’s self-proclaimed “war on pot,” actually come from scientists and physicians who have clinically proven the medical effectiveness of marijuana consumption. In January this year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine stated there is conclusive evidence that marijuana plants and extracts are effective in treating medical conditions and diseases, including chronic pain.
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that marijuana could actually take the place of more powerfully addictive opioids. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) agreed. In a study of states with medical marijuana laws, they found that there is close to 25% reduction in deaths tied to opioid overdose. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which sponsored ads in the 80s and 90s about the “War on Drugs,” stated that no one dies from overdoses of marijuana.
All of these facts must make Attorney General Jeff Sessions quite frustrated as he seeks a support platform to dismantle states rights and criminalize providers of medical marijuana. Fortunately for these fledgling businesses, it looks as if Sessions has a hard uphill climb.
As The Washington Post aptly pointed out, “The tide is too strong to swim against.”