One of the primary reasons there has not been much talk, as of late, about a crackdown on statewide marijuana legalization is U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is still waiting for a marijuana task force to submit a review of federal marijuana policy.
Although there is not much known about the inner workings of this so-called marijuana subcommittee, the group is expected to deliver its recommendations to Sessions by the end of next month.
There is speculation that the details of this report could sabotage the cannabis industry, completely. At bare minimum, the findings of the task force, which is reportedly being overseen by Michael Murray, counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, could lead to a reversal of an Obama-era memo (Cole) that gives states the freedom to experiment with marijuana legalization under a set of specific guidelines.
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A recent report from U.S. News indicates that the Department of Justice seems to be hell bent on keeping the marijuana review a secret, perhaps suggesting there is plenty of cause for concern within the cannabis community. In fact, when Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, a member of the newly formed Cannabis Caucus, reached out to Sessions recently to discuss the issue of marijuana legalization, he refused to speak with the lawmaker at any level.
“Without knowing much about the approach the subcommittee is taking, it’s hard to say whether we’d expect them to reach out,” said Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs. “So far, [Sessions’] comments have not indicated a lot of willingness to work together toward common ground.”
However, back in April, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that after meeting with Attorney General Sessions, he was not under the impression that he planned to pull the plug on legalization. In fact, Sessions reportedly told Hickenlooper, “You haven’t seen us cracking down, have you?” when asked about his master plan.
The Colorado governor said he believes that Sessions’ reply suggested that the Justice Department has its hands too full already with drug cartel activity to give two flying squirts about legal weed. But then again, he added that Sessions would not be cutting marijuana any slack.
President Trump, who said throughout his entire campaign that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” does not appear to have a heavy hand in determining the fate of marijuana legalization. But, as we have seen with respect to other issues, President Trump can turn on a dime.
In fact, Trump recently said in a signing statement concerning medical marijuana protections that he basically had no problem defying Congress by sending in the troops to tear down the medical marijuana community, if there would ever come a time when that was necessary. The bottom line is: this administration cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to whether marijuana legalization should be allowed to continue or if it should die a savage death in the name of a new drug war.
Make no mistake about it, the billions of dollars expected to come from the cannabis industry over the next few years will have no place in the decision.
As policy expert John Hudak of the Brookings Institution said earlier this year, the cannabis industry “is small by any metric of American capitalism. You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”
Attorney General Sessions task force will submit its recomendations by July 27.