As Attorney General Jeff Sessions awaits his task force’s findings between violent crime and cannabis, many voters, activists and imbibers also wait. Sessions has likened marijuana to heroin in the past and the Obama legislation that keeps the Feds out of state laws is wont to be dismantled by the current administration.
Liberals and Conservatives alike are rallying against such talk. Republican Senator Rand Paul is one of the vocal members of congress who want state laws regarding medical and recreational marijuana to remain protected. He is in good company with fellow congresspersons Democrats Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and others. Sessions is not a happy camper with opposition, but it does breathe hope into the state vs. federal controversy.
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Like gun rights, women’s reproductive rights and so many other issues, cannabis is currently dealt with on a state by state level. Your state must decide that medical or recreational marijuana is right for its people by its people. So with over 50% of Americans believing that pot should be left alone and over 70 percent believing states should be left alone you’d think we’d have it made. Unfortunately, there’s a federal cloud above. No matter how many states legalize, at this point, cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug, making it highly illegal at the federal level. Activists and lawyers have worked for decades to change not only state laws, but federal as well.
Back in February, we’ll recall that Sean Spicer announced that the Trump administration would “look into” enforcing federal law against the recreational market. And the scare tactics are working on some levels. Already, Massachusetts is in the process of rewriting their recreational law.
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The factis, a majority of U.S. citizens live in a state where at least medical or CBD use has been legalized. It shows the notion of the nation and it should speak volumes to Sessions and Trump, who are in the minority with their old idiom that cannabis is a gateway drug. Few people are buying that any longer, as studies roll out about cannabis actually combating addiction.
Recreational use is a very broad term, but there are some that would say all use is medicinal. Cannabis is an enhancement plant. It’s relaxing, food tastes better, sex is better, unfettered ideas rise to the top, conversations flow and the couch locked stoner stereotype is so 1995. Someone get the memo to Sessions!
Right now, again from the Obama era, ganjapreneurs are protected by a provision in the federal budget that keeps the Justice Department and its money from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. Along with this, Obama used funds to go after cartels and state to state trafficking instead.
After the February announcement that Trump wanted to put the kibosh on recreational, in March, Senators from both party lines requested that existing policies stay in place. They argue that legalization dampens the black market, money laundering and the actual criminalities of drug trafficking. They are afraid that more stringent laws could ramp up a system that is already punitive, racist and keeps people in and out of the prison system in a vicious cycle.
Financially, Sessions and Trump would have to be crazy to stop legal and medical usage. In 2016, people spent nearly six billion dollars on legal cannabis and that number is rising fast every year. The taxes pay for schools, roadways, scholarships and quite often business owners give back to the community in their own ways.
It’s kind, persistent people that will keep our laws in place and eventually take down the dreaded Schedule 1 status. In the meantime, unfortunately, many are bracing for a shock wave of crackdowns. Just remember, the People have spoken and it’s the People to whom this great nation belongs.