It has been a little over a month since President Trump supposedly promised to stop his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from unleashing an unsavory wrath against states that have legalized marijuana. For the past year, Sessions and the Department of Justice have been searching for a sellable weapon in the interoffice war to bring down legal weed.
But with the president telling states they are safe to continue the cultivation and sale of marijuana, in spite of the fact that the herb remains a banned substances in the eyes of the federal government, the consensus is that pot reform has cleared yet another major hurdle. So why is the cannabis community still talking about Jeff Sessions?
Nobody really knows how much truth is in the president’s so-called promise to allow legal weed to continue without some sort of a crackdown. At the beginning of 2018, Sessions rescinded an Obama-era a document called the Cole Memo that allowed states to experiment with the legalization of marijuana through a series of modest guidelines.
But even with Trump signaling safety for the legal pot culture, there is still no replacement policy in place, not even one as non-biding as the Cole memo, to serve as an act of good faith. Considering the flip-flopping the president has done since taking office, it would not surprise anyone at this juncture if the words, “I never said legal marijuana was safe” came oozing from his mouth.
Fortunately, some strides have taken place on Capitol Hill to keep the half-cocked Department of Justice at bay for a little longer.
The US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) recently voted to allow medical marijuana protections (Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) to be included with the new federal budget bill that is set to expire in September. This is the only legitimate measure the cannabis community has had in the past few years to stop any sort of legal voodoo from coming down on law-abiding medical marijuana patients and the businesses that serve them. But there was some uncertainly over whether the protections would be given the opportunity to be renewed this time around.
Still, there is nothing concrete is place to protect those states that have legalized the leaf for recreational purposes. And it is not likely that this sector of the cannabis industry will be protected by a measure similar to the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment anytime soon. These types of proposals have missed every single time they have ever been introduced in recent years.
The only way the gnashing teeth of Jeff Sessions can truly be stopped is if Congress passes legislation aimed at legalizing marijuana nationwide. Some seem to believe the country has a fair shot at seeing that happen in the near future. But it will not be possible until Congressional leaders, like Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, change their tune. McConnell said recently that he does not “have any plans to endorse the legalization of marijuana.”
So, it’s not Jeff Sessions the cannabis community should be concerned about – its Congress.