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Paul Armentano of NORML on Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition

13 January 2018

A new subcommittee at the Department of Justice plans to assess the legalized use of marijuana.

Thanks to the numerous studies on the benefits of marijuana, the interest in using the psychoactive drug have grown widely.

The truth is, there is great potential in the treatment of a myriad of diseases with compounds found in medical marijuana.

But Quinnipiac Law Professor John Thomas said Sessions's reversal could definitely create some challenges for existing and new businesses. I especially worry about children with epilepsy who might have to use illegal marijuana that gives them a high due to the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rather than a legal version with little to no THC.

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The challenge, however, is that Congress did not write the deal and can not now change it. The assumption has been that the deal could, technically, stand if the USA left.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in eight states plus the District of Columbia; medical marijuana is legal in 29 states plus the District of Columbia. "I do not believe there's any argument, because a state legalized marijuana, that the federal law against marijuana is no longer in existence", he told radio host Hugh Hewitt back in October.

Washington's laws are much different when it comes to cannabis purchasing and possession limits. But the more than 100 million Americans who have consumed cannabis, and particularly the 35 million who enjoy it on a regular basis, know better.

Not coincidentally, Sessions also opposes reforming civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize the property of the accused even before they're convicted of a crime - and makes it hard and sometimes impossible even for those found not guilty to get their property back. "And frankly you could face even more severe consequences if the powers that be decide they wanted to make a thing about [a company's USA operations]". My mandate now is to wisely regulate marijuana, not second-guess the will of the voters.

While it is gratifying to see our friends on the left suddenly grasp the importance of the 10th Amendment and states' rights, it's sadly predictable that it wasn't over something like allowing states to establish marriage policy for themselves. Many House members, again, cried foul - we are a country of laws, after all. By federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, the most unsafe designation.

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"Because related guidance from FinCEN requires banks to report by the filing of SARs the fact that they are providing banking services to marijuana businesses operating lawfully under local state laws, the rescission of the Cole Memorandum may mean that the required SARs filing are tantamount to admissions of criminal behavior by a bank and its personnel", Lynyak says.

The senator seemed flabbergasted by what amounted to a federal assault on the expanding $1 billion legal pot business approved by voters in Colorado. Many people thought that buying a joint would be as simple as picking up a pack of cigarettes, but some cities have rejected retails sales all together while others are taking a low-key approach to retail sales. Also big business will be more reluctant to get involved.

Not everything has gone perfectly in Alaska, with the recent issue of testing inconsistencies rising before the Marijuana Control Board to address, but there have hardly been any of the deleterious effects opponents warned of before the 2014 vote. If the federal government disagrees with that, it could set up another states' rights legal dispute.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, both a critic and an author of the state's medical marijuana law, said state officials are "close to recognizing" that vertical integration isn't necessary. Thus it would be stupid for a state to legalize a product that is virtually guaranteed to harm and even kill some of its own citizens, and on the other hand, it would be smart for a state to imitate federal guidelines on the matter. Certainly, there will be more laws and regulations in place to ensure that things run smoothly. There is a shortage of evidence that youths are being adversely affected by legal marijuana, though this is something that deserves close watch by state regulators.

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Paul Armentano of NORML on Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition