Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Oregon Joins The Fight Against Jeff Sessions’ Reefer Madness

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is the latest leader from a legal marijuana state to reject ill-informed marijuana claims by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Sessions, one of the most extreme anti-marijuana zealots in the Trump administration, has been sending out letters to governors in pro-marijuana states claiming he has “serious questions about the efficacy of marijuana ‘regulatory structures.’ ”

Earlier this year, the governors of the first four states to legalize recreational cannabis — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — asked Sessions to “engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems.” In response to the reasonable request, Sessions sent letters back to the governors using flawed, incomplete or old data in order to raise questions about the new laws.

Sessions attempted to demonstrate that legalization poses dire public health and safety issues. “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a crime,” Sessions wrote.

On Tuesday, Oregon’s Gov. Brown fired back with her own letter back to Sessions:

Despite the concerns surrounding legalization of marijuana, there can be no denying that Oregon has beneftted from this industry. Oregon has already realized $60.2 million in revenue and created over 16,000 jobs for Oregonians. Tax revenue from the marijuana industry is used to fund schools, to provide mental health and drug treatment and to assist both state and local law enforcement. This does not even take into account cost savings to the criminal justice system. As stated in the April 3, 2017 letter, a dismantling of the Cole Memorandum would have the opposite effect, driving existing lawful product into the unregulated black market and funding criminal enterprise.

Brown’s response is similar to the one from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.  “Unfortunately, he [Sessions] is referring to incomplete and unreliable data that does not provide the most accurate snapshot of our efforts since the marketplace opened in 2014,” Inslee wrote.

The governor and attorney general of Alaska sent Sessions a terse response last week. “The report simply does not speak to the success or failure of the new regulatory framework,” the letter said.

Sessions nor the Department of Justice has responded to the feedback from the states.



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