Trump Administration Reverses Obama Era Policy On State Marijuana Legalization

The Trump Administration is reversing policy on an Obama Era policy that allowed states to choose their own course on marijuana laws.

Trump Marijuana

The Trump Administration is reversing an Obama Administration policy that generally refrained from interfering with state efforts to either legalize marijuana or make it more widely available for medical purposes:

The Trump administration freed federal prosecutors on Thursday to more aggressively enforce marijuana laws, effectively threatening to undermine the legalization movement that has spread to six states, most recently California.

In a move that raised doubts about the viability and growth of the burgeoning commercial marijuana industry, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that had discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing charges of marijuana-related crimes in states that have legalized sales of the drug.

In a statement, Mr. Sessions said the Obama-era guidance undermined “the rule of law” and the Justice Department’s mission to enforce federal statutes.

“Today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country,” he said.

In a briefing with reporters, Justice Department officials refused to say whether they intended for federal prosecutors to carry out a federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries, or whether the Trump administration was merely creating ambiguity to chill growth of the semi-legal commercial marijuana industry.

But the move seemed certain to increase the confusion surrounding whether it is legal to sell, buy or possess marijuana in the United States. Federal law has long prohibited those activities, and in 2013, after voters in Colorado and Washington State voted to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use, the Justice Department deliberated about how to handle the resulting disconnect between state and federal law.

Ultimately, the Obama administration decided not to sue such states, and the Justice Department issued a policy memo instructing federal prosecutors to de-prioritize marijuana-related prosecutions in those states — except in certain cases, such as when there were sales to children, gang-related activity, or diversions of the product to states where it remained entirely illegal.

That guidance was known as the ”Cole memo“ after the then-deputy attorney general who issued it, James Cole.

The federal government’s hands-off approach allowed a new industry to flourish in states that had decided to legalize and regulate marijuana use and sales for recreational and medical use. In Colorado, one of the first states to broadly legalize the drug for adult use, marijuana sales now top $1 billion each year and thousands of people work in the industry, in jobs ranging from “bud trimmers” to marijuana tour guides for out-of-state visitors.

Huge grow warehouses sprouted up inside old industrial neighborhoods, and companies that produce marijuana-laced candies, infusions and drinks have large-scale production facilities — all of which may now have a bull’s-eye on their backs.

“I do expect to see the larger investors and businesses targeted,” said Kevin Sabet, a prominent critic of legalized marijuana and former drug-control policy official in the Obama administration, who praised the step. “I’m not sure whether local mom-and-pop marijuana shops will be affected.”

Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy notes that this constitutes a serious threat to concepts of federalism that conservatives claim to care about:

The Attorney General has the authority to reorient federal enforcement priorities in this way, but I believe that is a mistake. Given the breadth of federal criminal laws, the Justice Department must prioritize its limited enforcement resources. A logical way to prioritize enforcement efforts is to focus federal resources on those crimes that implicate distinctly federal interests (such as interstate trafficking) or that are difficult for state and local authorities to handle on their own (such as some complicated financial crimes and matters that cross state lines). Such an approach is not only more efficient, it is also consistent with the underlying constitutional structure, in which the federal government has limited and enumerated powers — including the power to regulate commerce “among the several states” — and in which general police power is reserved to the states.

The Cole memorandum issued during the Obama Administration was largely consistent with this sort of federalist principle. If anything, this memorandum did not go far enough. Ideally, Congress would reform federal drug laws to facilitate state experimentation while also protecting states in which prohibition is maintained from any excesses of their neighbors. (Note to members of Congress poised to criticize AG Sessions: Why don’t you do your job and push legislation to address this issue?)

This move doesn’t come entirely as a surprise. While he was a U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions was an outspoken critic of the marijuana legalization movement and of the Obama Administration’s decision not to interfere with states where the substance had been legalized, decriminalized, or even merely legalized for medical purposes. Because of that, there had been repeated speculation over the past year since he began serving as Attorney General that he would take steps to reverse the policies put in place by the Obama Justice Department that essentially took a hands-off approach on the enforcement of Federal marijuana laws in such states unless it involved the transportation of cannabis across state lines or had links to international drug trafficking. As a result, the states had been given a relatively free hand to set policies of their own either through voter initiatives or legislative action. To a large degree, this policy was consistent with principles of federalism that conservatives and Republicans claim to champion. By reversing the policy, Sessions and Trump are effectively seeking to supplant the will of the people in the states where marijuana has been legalized, decriminalized, or made available for medical purposes and deal a significant blow to the growing nationwide movement in favor of outright legalization.

The move also seems to run counter to public opinion on the issue of legalization. According to an October poll from Gallup, legalization is supported by 64 percent of the public, including a majority of self-identified Republicans. This is one of the major reasons why the legalization movement itself has proven to be so successful at the polls in recent years. Over the past seven years, we’ve seen a growing number of states change their laws to reflect these changes in public opinion, and to reflect the reality that all of the available evidence has shown that marijuana is not nearly as harmful as other illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin, that it is not physically addictive, that there is no evidence it is a “gateway drug” that leads users to more dangerous substances, and that it is in many respects less harmful than legal substances such as alcohol and nicotine. Additionally, there have been several studies that have established the medical benefits that cannabis can have for people suffering from ailments such as glaucoma and who are trying to deal with nausea caused by chemotherapy used in treating cancer. The trend toward legalization began to gain steam in 2010 when Colorado and Washington both passed citizen referenda legalizing cannabis. Four years later similar measures passed in Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia passed similar referenda. Most recently marijuana was legalized in 2016 in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine via citizen referenda and voters in a number of other states approved legalization for medicinal purposes. As this map from Wikipedia shows, the laws regarding marijuana have been liberalized to at least some extent in virtually every state in the country

Marijuana Legalization Map

Here’s the key to the map:

Marijuana Legalization Map Key

It’s important to note that this policy change doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to see Federal agents busting down the doors of marijuana businesses in the states where it has been legalized, but it does create a high degree of legal uncertainty for an industry that is just beginning to grow. Sessions’ announcement basically leaves it to individual U.S. Attorneys to decide how they will deal with the issue of marijuana in their jurisdiction. In some cases, this could mean that there will be little change from the current policy due to the fact that Federal law enforcement in the affected jurisdictions could decide that it would be a waste of limited resources to try to enforce Federal laws against what is essentially a legal business in their particular states. At this point, though, it’s not at all clear that this will be the case, and we could see U.S. Attorneys who want to curry favor with an Attorney General who is decidedly opposed to legalization by using Federal law to bust people that are engaging in activities that are, for purposes of state law, engaged in an entirely legal activity. At the very least, without the Obama Era policy in place, these businesses will now be operating in an environment where they will have to be concerned about the possibility of Federal law enforcement targeting them even though they are engaged in a legal activity within the borders of their respective states.

Ideally, Congress will follow Professor Adler’s advice and step in to reform Federal law in a way that protects states that have chosen to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. In that regard, it’s interesting to note that Sessions’ announcement has been greeted most prominently by condemnation from Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who is decidedly conservative:

Colorado politicians on both sides of the aisle resoundingly lambasted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision Thursday to end an Obama-era policy that allowed for marijuana legalization to spread in U.S. states despite pot being federally unlawful.

They said the change put Colorado’s pot marketplace at serious risk — though it still was unclear what the impact would be in the nation’s first legal recreational market.

The decision “has trampled on the will of the voters,” tweeted U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican.

“This industry has been implemented, the sky has not fallen like many of us thought it would and it’s being done responsibly across the country,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, calling the decision a disappointment in an interview.

The rallying cries against Sessions’ reported rescinding of the so-called Cole Memo were joined by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a fellow Democrat, as well as Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, who questioned if the nation’s top law enforcement officer understood the Constitution. All of those officials had opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana before 55 percent of Colorado voters approved it in 2012.

Gardner threatened Thursday to withhold support for Justice Department nominees until the policy dispute was resolved.

“Before I voted to confirm Attorney General Sessions, he assured me that marijuana would not be a priority for this administration,” Gardner said in a statement. “Today’s action directly contradicts what I was told, and I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding (U.S. Department of Justice) nominees, until the attorney general lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.

“In 2016, President Trump said marijuana legalization should be left up to the states and I agree.”

Gardner also spoke about the issue from the floor of the Senate today, arguing that the change in policy is an assault on state’s rights and on the lives and livelihoods of the Coloradans he represents:

Gardner was joined in his criticism by Dean Heller of Nevada and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who also represent states that have legalized marijuana in recent years, as well as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Over in the House, California Republican Dana Rohrbacher joined Gardner and these other Senators:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is sharply criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to allow federal prosecutors to target marijuana users in states where use of the drug is legal.

In the Thursday statement on his website, Rohrabacher ripped Sessions for the decision, which the lawmaker warns will only hurt GOP chances at the ballot box during November’s midterm elections.

“The attorney general of the United States has just delivered an extravagant holiday gift to the drug cartels. By attacking the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions has shown a preference for allowing all commerce in marijuana to take place in the black market, which will inevitably bring the spike in violence he mistakenly attributes to marijuana itself,” Rohrabacher said in his statement.

“By taking this benighted minority position, he actually places Republicans’ electoral fortunes in jeopardy,” he added.

The California lawmaker’s statement came after Sessions earlier Thursday rescinded orders that directed federal prosecutors to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases in states where the drug is legal. Recreational marijuana, already a booming industry, became legal in Rohrabacher’s home state earlier this week.

It remains to be seen whether Gardner, Rohrbacher, and the others speak for a large number of their fellow Republicans, but with elections coming up in November it will be interesting to see if there is a significant movement in Congress to rein in this action on the Administration’s part.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    Conservatism: n. The morbid fear that someone, somewhere may be enjoying their life.




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  2. michael reynolds says:

    I count four Republican members of Congress from Colorado, plus Gardner in the Senate. The DCCC must be ecstatic.




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  3. CSK says:

    So much for the administration’s much-touted respect for states rights–although I doubt that Trump has any grasp of the concept of federalism.




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  4. KM says:

    Annnnnddd with that goes a ton of voters. Seriously, this is a money maker the states and personal pet peeve for a lot people who’d have happily pulled the lever for conservatives otherwise. Thanks for turning states even bluer, Sessions.

    Sessions’ announcement basically leaves it to individual U.S. Attorneys to decide how they will deal with the issue of marijuana in their jurisdiction.

    And when they don’t start up the reefer madness craze, is Sessions going to be a happy man? The only reason to do this is to put people in prison and make some money for his buddies. When that cash flow doesn’t happen, we’re going to see a whole lot of “soft on crime” BS.




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  5. teve tory says:

    So much for the administration’s much-touted respect for states rights

    “States’ Rights” was never serious ideology among republicans, really. It started in the 50’s and 60’s when white people in the south were spitting mad about the Federal Gummint making them desegregate. “States’ Rights” was designed to say “Hey, other white people, I’m on your side on this. *Welfare*, too, amirite!”




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  6. Tyrell says:

    Let me say that I have studied some about this issue and have as yet no opinion one way or the other.
    I remember in school that the health/pe teacher taught us about the side effects of this stuff on the brain and damages it can cause. We watch videos that brought up severe psychological damage. What about that? Is that no longer valid?
    I also realize that there are people who have cancer and want this.
    Will this lead to stronger drugs? Will legalization result in less violent crime involving drug deals and traffic?
    What other health problems can result from smoking these marijuana cigarettes and pipes – such as to lungs?
    How would the growing and sale of this be controlled? Will it be limited to businesses only? What sort of taxes would be allowed – state, local, federal?
    It seems to me that some sort of committee made up of medical professionals should take a long look at this before just swinging open the gate to another harmful substance. I understand the issue of freedom here, but this move to legalize comes at the same time that the insurance companies are trying all kinds of incentives for people to stop smoking and adopt healthier habits. Just how will that dovetail with marijuana legalization?
    I am of the opinion that it would be better to let the states decide instead of the federal government having something else to worry about. But a full study would give the states a baseline of information to work from.




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  7. James Pearce says:

    The only people investing in my neighborhood the last few years have been Wal-Mart and weed dispensaries. This will not make America great again.

    At any rate, good luck with that, Jeff.




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  8. inhumans99 says:

    @KM:

    Yup…the fat cats who run the private prisons must be whining that not enough new blood is entering their hallowed chambers (for the most part crime is down…so no bueno for the prison industry) so the low hanging fruit is to try and throw more people in prison for smoking weed.

    On the other hand Cory Gardner of CO has already gone on the record saying ummm…Sessions, my friend, I love you but let’s have a conversation about how many tens of millions you are going to cost me, some of which incidentally makes its ways into President Trumps hands. I mean, not his exact words to Sessions but like grenades and playing horseshoes close enough counts.




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  9. Matt says:

    @Tyrell:

    I remember in school that the health/pe teacher taught us about the side effects of this stuff on the brain and damages it can cause. We watch videos that brought up severe psychological damage. What about that? Is that no longer valid?

    It was never true to begin with. There’s a reason people refer to that stuff as reefer madness.

    The rest of your questions were answered years ago (some decades ago). You haven’t studied anything at all. 40 seconds with google would answer all your questions.




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  10. Matt says:

    @Matt: Okay 40 seconds is somewhat of an exaggeration if you want to get in-depth. Unfortunately this website is loading so terribly and slow that I was unable to get my comment to even load to edit it.

    Oh and Tyrell while you’re using google look into patent no 6,630,507 and who owns it..




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  11. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I count four Republican members of Congress from Colorado, plus Gardner in the Senate. The DCCC must be ecstatic.

    See, here’s the problem with that, though.

    Republicans are split between old-school “law and order” types like Sessions and Trump, and the libertarian types who want to see marijuana legalized. (Rohrabacher, Paul, etc.)

    Democrats, on the other hand, approach the subject with their usual trepidation; they’ll tweet out condemnations, but will any of them propose legislation?




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  12. CSK says:

    Another OT: Leigh Corfman is suing Roy Moore for defamation. Good for her.




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  13. Mister Bluster says:

    I remember in school that the health/pe teacher taught us about the side effects of this stuff on the brain and damages it can cause

    So did your health/pe instructor tell you about the dangers of drinking coffee?

    Death by caffeine, as in Cripe’s case, is typically caused by ventricular fibrillation — a rapid and irregular heart beat that disturbs the blood flow, leading to low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and death.

    How much time did that health class spend on sex ed. including the risk of
    dying in the saddle
    ?

    Those risks are out there!




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  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    So: I’m a Colorado resident, and I don’t drink or drug. But I did vote for Recreational Marijuana, because Colorado is like that..

    Here is another campaign promise broken:

    http://www.9news.com/news/local/next/tbt-the-time-pres-trump-said-hed-let-states-decide-marijuana-policy/504897540




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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Dude, the DCCC (or D-Trip as the cool kids say) is ecstatic because Democrats plus Libertarian Republicans plus energized youth vote is Yahtzee. The Dems don’t need to propose anything, we just say, ‘federalism’ then sit back and laugh. We may cleanse Colorado of Republican office holders which is why Senator Gardner was losing his sh!t.




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  16. Davebo says:

    @Tyrell:

    You say

    Let me say that I have studied some about this issue and have as yet no opinion one way or the other.I

    Then go on to show beyond doubt that you have almost none of the widely available data on every question you ask.

    Are you stoned or is Google just too much for you?




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  17. Davebo says:

    @James Pearce:

    Damn those freaking Democrats! Every Jimbo Pearce comment ever made.




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  18. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    I find myself agreeing with the majority here.

    We definitely need Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III deciding which federal laws are to be enforced and which are not. Expecting Congress to execute its Constitutional duty to change the laws is just so pre-Obama. Sessions has a pen and a phone, and he should be using them.

    Now, which laws should he rule on next?




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  19. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    DCCC (or D-Trip as the cool kids say)

    I’d go with Dee Cee Trips, myself. But, then again, I am cooler than most folks.




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  20. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I count four Republican members of Congress from Colorado, plus Gardner in the Senate.

    It’s not just Colorado (or California et alia.)

    It’s also a substantial portion of libertarian R voters, and also some R leaner voters who are amenable to the weed legalization / decriminalization.

    That slice is fairly small, but when polling is close to 50% – 50% in a local or state race and 3% of likely voters either vote for the other person, or vote third party, or decide not to vote, then it’s a really big deal.

    This decision may seem like small beer, but this could be why Rs lose the Inter Mountain West and portions of the Mid West in the near future. The rump ends of Rs struggling to hold on in the West Coast states are doomed unless in the reddest of red districts.

    An underground economy wishing for legitimacy and legal protections, and that employs a large number of voters is being threatened politically by one party. The reaction is eminently predictable.

    And it’s all just because Sessions couldn’t constrain himself, and no one in this post-policy WH could see what Session’s decision would trigger and then do simple electoral math.

    There is no political upside for this decision. It’s baffling. Is there some obvious upside thing I’m missing here?




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  21. de stijl says:

    I remember in school that the health/pe teacher taught us about the side effects of this stuff on the brain and damages it can cause

    My Health / PE teacher was a self-loathing alcoholic who could barely hold on to his side gig as as the JV wide receivers coach. He would routinely show up at games so loaded he could barely stand. He couldn’t even load film-strips (remember film-strips? Kinda like early ’70’s Instagram.) He had the A/V kids run them and work the film projector. He was so obese we used to speculate whether a doctor could ever successfully perform thoracic surgery on him.




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  22. de stijl says:

    There are almost zero people who actually base their voting on the concepts of Federalism or States’ Rights.

    Those are the flimsy, ad hoc, and paper-thin excuses they use to legitimize their pre-existing beliefs. Often, the concepts are used as a “principled” philosophical dodge to cover grossly immoral beliefs and actions.




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  23. Mister Bluster says:

    Well, now if I were the president of this land
    You know, I’d declare total war on The Pusher man
    I’d cut him if he stands, and I’d shoot him if he’d run
    Yes I’d kill him with my Bible and my razor and my gun
    Steppenwolf




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  24. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We may cleanse Colorado of Republican office holders which is why Senator Gardner was losing his sh!t.

    I know there’s a lot of suspicion that Gardner “lost his shit” because he’s worried about losing his seat, but Mike Coffman joined him in condemning Sessions’s move. Whatever the motivation, they’re defending the will of Colorado’s voters.

    As for this negatively affecting Republican chances…not really the right lens to see this issue through, I’d say…don’t count on it. All the prominent Dems, from Hickenlooper on down to Hancock, were against legal weed. They haven’t tried to stop it, but you can tell they would prefer to have nothing to do with it. (When asked for advice on legalization by other states, Hick’s response is always “Don’t do it.”)

    One of the biggest pot proponents in the state, and perhaps one of the reasons Colorado was the first state to fully legalize weed, is Tom Tancredo. Remember him? He’s running for governor again.

    @Davebo:

    Damn those freaking Democrats!

    Well, Dave, I view the Democratic party as an actual thing, not the repository of my hopes and dreams. When they spend decades playing the “tough on crime” game, when they cede the ground to cranks like Rohrabacher and Tancredo, when they tell people in other states NOT to legalize weed, I kinda conclude that they’re not that great on this issue. Some of them are, it’s true.

    But if we left legalizing weed up to the Democrats, there wouldn’t be any weed dispensaries to close. (Long live the ballot initiative!)




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  25. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl:

    There are almost zero people who actually base their voting on the concepts of Federalism or States’ Rights.

    This, a thousand times this. I suspect the percentage of people who vote based on someone’s libertarian, or socialist, or any other political philosophy tend asymptotically to zero. There are people who vote Republican who say the word “libertarian “ but the percentage who would chose a candidate based on their adherence to libertarian principles (whatever the heck that may mean) is, well, a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage.




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  26. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: That’s if Democrats have the brains to run on a pro-legalization platform for 2018. As of now, they haven’t committed to it.




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  27. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Republicans…doing everything in their power to fight progress.
    Trump and Sessions aren’t just reversing an Obama policy…they are going back on their own word.




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  28. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @James Pearce:

    @michael reynolds:

    We may cleanse Colorado of Republican office holders which is why Senator Gardner was losing his sh!t.

    I know there’s a lot of suspicion that Gardner “lost his shit” because he’s worried about losing his seat, but Mike Coffman joined him in condemning Sessions’s move. Whatever the motivation, they’re defending the will of Colorado’s voters.

    While you can say it’s the will of the voters, it’s actually Big Business and tax Dollars. Legal Cannabis is working here in Colorado. It happened, and surprisingly life goes on… and it goes on well. Massive spending has gone into grow farms, huge trade jobs to redo warehouses, employees in growing, selling, management, governmental oversight… and the Revenue: More than a half a billion dollars!

    (source: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/revenue/colorado-marijuana-tax-data )

    You just don’t shrug your shoulders and wave buh-bye to a billion dollar business. Not to mention Tourism.

    This is core GOP values now in Colorado. They have poked the wrong tiger.




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  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Ben Wolf: What is the upside on running on a pro-legalization platform? The Republicans are tied to the anti-Marijuana label. Democrats can run on a “let the states decide” platform and the “reform the criminal justice system wrt previous Marijuana arrests” and therefore paint themselves as the alternatives to Republicans, without incurring the wrath of the prohibitionists (mainly older and/or deeply religious people). They can do what’s good and right and sensible without sticking their fingers in the eyes of people who still have doubts.

    On the whole, I’m pro-legalization. But lest anyone think that there aren’t still risks, let me point out that we are in the very early stages of market development here. From what I understand the most profitable sales in places that legalized have quickly shifted from smoking to edibles and vapes. The small grower is being pushed out because the cost of the equipment needed to process the raw product is prohibitively expensive. Ion the sales side, it won’t be long before the mom-and-pop marijuana stores are franchised. Small growers, small stores supply a market. But the big players create a market. Creating a market means encouraging existing users to use more and convincing non-users to take it up. We need to watch what this means to our communities.

    My liberal side says its time for a change and I’m glad it’s happening. My conservative side says that our community leaders, government and otherwise, should be cautious and constantly monitor developments to see where this might go and try to get ahead of developing problems. So I wouldn’t look particularly favorably at a politician or party that was rabidly pro-legalization. Rather I would respect them if they said “the people have spoken so now we must make sure we make the shift as smooth as possible.”

    It seems to me that a good rule of thumb is that once a big societal change is enacted (liberalism) it needs to be closely monitored and assessed to ensure it doesn’t damage our communities (conservatism).




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  30. KM says:

    @de stijl”

    There is no political upside for this decision. It’s baffling. Is there some obvious upside thing I’m missing here?

    To people like Sessions: the right people aren’t making money off it and the wrong people are benefiting. This move reverses that by letting his buddies start jailing people en mass again like before and screws over who he probably feels are hippies / losers / not people he’d want to associate with. He doesn’t care that the profits are flowing to his side as well and that quite a few Republics toke. Hell, collateral damage might even be a feature for him instead of a bug.

    Sessions is in it for Sessions – what he can score for his beliefs and pocketbook. He doesn’t give a damn about the politics of it because he’s in power and what the point if you can’t throw your weight around? Remember, weed isn’t bad because science and medicine said so but the federal government in a bid to control undesirables. Logic has nothing to do with this.




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  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    You’re the first of the Trumpaloons dumb enough to show his face here after the last couple of days. Congratulations!




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  32. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: Had better things to do of late. Back to work after the heart incident.

    But I really admire Senator Gardner’s chutzpah here. Instead of filing a bill to amend the law Sessions says he’ll follow, he threatens to obstruct any appointments unless Sessions goes on record saying that he has the authority to decide, on his own, which laws are to be enforced and which are not.

    I’d be amused to see Sessions announce that, on his own authority, he won’t be enforcing the federal marijuana laws. And for a followup, announcing that there will be no prosecutions for any violations of Sarbanes-Oxley or Dodd-Frank.

    Under Obama, “selective enforcement” was the rule of the day. If it was good enough for then…




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  33. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    Oh bullsh!t. You and the rest of the Trumpaloons disappear whenever you realize you simply cannot defend the Dotard-in-Chief You’re a coward and utterly devoid of integrity.

    You’ve been banned. You’ve been told to f-off. You’e a racist apologist and all-around liar. No one here has the slightest interest in what you have to say.




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  34. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: In this case I’m willing to give Sessions the benefit of the doubt. He appears to sincerely believe that marijuana is the devil’s weed and legalization is putting us on the path to ruin. I think he is wrong, but I don’t think he is just doing it to line his or his friends pockets.




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  35. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: So, there’s some sort of quota for how often commenters should check in and comment?

    I comment when I feel like it, and when the topic interests me. Oddly enough, a whole bunch of topics that interest me greatly are being quietly overlooked here — the revelation that the Obama administration squashed a DOJ move to stop Hezbollah from setting up a drug-smuggling ring throughout the Americas to protect their Iran deal, the Obama administration leaked an Israeli plan to assassinate a top terrorist, the booming economy, all the businesses giving hefty bonuses to employees in response to the Trump tax cut, the reports of just how many federal laws Huma Abedin broke while she was Hillary’s closest aide, the utter collapse of the “Russian collusion” fantasy, the House IT scandal that just might tie in to the Hezbollah drug smuggling… but they haven’t been brought up here, so I snickered and moved on.

    To bring them up in unrelated threads would be rude, after all. And I wouldn’t want to be rude.

    Oh, and “Trumpaloons?” That’s kinda cute. Who’d you lift it from?




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  36. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    J-E-N-O-S…we are all well aware that you are interested in whatever the latest conspiracy theories to rise out of the fever swamps are.
    But you were banned…

    ban
    verb
    1. officially or legally prohibit.




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  37. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You’ve been banned. You’ve been told to f-off. You’e a racist apologist and all-around liar. No one here has the slightest interest in what you have to say.

    And yet you responded to him, twice. Hmmmmm…




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  38. James Pearce says:

    Ron Wyden announced he’s co-sponsoring Cory Booker’s weed legalization bill. The problem…..the bill’s a mess.

    From a Wash Post article on Booker’s bill:

    Sen. Cory Booker on Wednesday introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana, expunge federal marijuana convictions and penalize states with racially-disparate arrest or incarceration rates for marijuana-related crimes.

    And it’s like….just reschedule marijuana.




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  39. KM says:

    @James Pearce :

    And it’s like….just reschedule marijuana.

    To what? Therein lies the rub. Even dropping it to V means you can be arrested / fined for “abuse” by an enterprising LEO who wants to bust you. It also puts restrictions on who and where to legally buy that makes it unfair for something you can grow in your basement.

    Why should it be a scheduled drug in the first place?




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  40. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    Why should it be a scheduled drug in the first place?

    I’d be fine with de-scheduling it too.

    But this “penalize states with racially-disparate arrest or incarceration rates for marijuana-related crimes” stuff is an unneeded poison pill that puts the goal further out of reach and is definitely not a “leave it to the states” approach.

    Even in CO, with legal weed, we have people getting arrested. Check this out. It’s the sign of a system that’s working. Smokers aren’t get arrested; unscrupulous operators are.




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  41. JKB says:

    If only there was some way for all these Senators and House members deploring this change in policy could simply remove the discretion from the unelected bureaucrats and do it in such a manner that it was mandatory the will of their branch of government be honored?

    Everyone is all in a twitter when the “memo” method left those in the “legal” pot business without banking, sometimes being able to rent, etc. Every day their assets were subject to forfeiture. Nothing has changed. The funding down at the local US Attorney’s office is still limited and needs to be prioritized. The use of funds to go after medical weed is still prohibited by the appropriations acts.

    What has changed is that now the issue is going to be discussed and perhaps even Congress will just change the federal laws.




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  42. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    I think we’re all curious about which parent gets custody of you. Are you going with Papa Steve or Papa Donald?




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  43. An Interested Party says:

    And I wouldn’t want to be rude.

    Oh really? Perhaps you would call it polite for someone who was banned from this site to slither back on it using another alias…

    @James Pearce: So you don’t think that there are states with racially-disparate arrest or incarceration rates for marijuana-related crimes? Ooook

    What has changed is that now the issue is going to be discussed and perhaps even Congress will just change the federal laws.

    In the past few years, when have those in Congress ever passed and/or changed federal laws rather than simply moaning and groaning about another branch of the federal government…Congresscritters don’t seem to want to put their fingerprints on much of anything that they think will come back to haunt them at election time…




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  44. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party: Of course there are states with racial disparities.

    From your link:

    The 12 states with the most marijuana possession arrests in 2010 made
    over half a million total arrests: New York, which alone made over 100,000
    arrests, Texas, Florida, California, Illinois, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey,
    Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

    The usual suspects, I’d say. States with big urban populations and lots of African-Americans.

    Those states aren’t going to vote to be penalized. Other states, states that don’t have huge “racial disparities,” aren’t going to vote to be penalized if they meet some arbitrary threshold. Who decides, after all, what a “racially disparate arrest rate” is anyway? I get what he’s trying to do, but man, it ain’t going to work.

    God bless Cory Booker for taking this on, but I hope he ends up voting for someone else’s superior bill rather than trying to advance this crock of spit.




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  45. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Relax. I realize it will be hard for you when you have to credit Donald Trump for legalizing marijuana. Not to mention he’s going to resolve the DACA problem, probably with some sort of residency. But it will all be done, as it should, by Congress. Although that assumes Democrats in Congress will be able to vote to legalize marijuana when it will be good for Trump or sort out the DACA problem when it will help Trump.

    I also expect, right before the Super Bowl some initiative from Trump to address the legitimate grievances of the African-American community while ignoring the wacky sector of BLM. So relax, remember how great things were after Reagan got a few things done. It’s going to be much better this time.




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  46. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Well, you must be right because he’s a “Very stable genius.” So it’s clearly all going to be fine with a VERY STABLE GENIUS in the White House.

    You’re an idiot supporting a senile idiot.




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  47. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Very stable genius.”

    Trump is “stable” only in the sense that he’s full of horse poop.




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