Many responses have filed in from across the cultural and political landscape following the announcement that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind the 2013 Cole Memorandum. The Obama-era policy protected states’ rights to legalize and regulate marijuana without federal interference.
One of the more pronounced reactions came from old Donald Trump adversary and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He called upon Sessions to reverse his decision to roll back the Cole Memorandum and urged states toward decriminalizing marijuana.
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“Marijuana is not the same as heroin. No one who has seriously studied the issue believes that marijuana should be classified as a Schedule 1 drug beside killer drugs like heroin,” Sanders said in a statement.
“Quite the contrary. We should allow states the right to move toward the decriminalization of marijuana, not reverse the progress that has been made in recent years,” he also added.
Hours before Sessions’ decision to roll back the Cole memo went into effect, Sanders’ state of Vermont voted to legalize recreational marijuana. The decision was momentous as Vermont became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana usage by legislature versus the traditional ballot method.
Sessions’ decision will impact the more than 150,000 workers employed in the legal cannabis industry. In addition, it could adversely affect the six states who have legalized recreational marijuana usage, as well as other states which allow some form of medical usage.