Sessions's Marijuana Crackdown Could Pose Problems For Medical Pot In Connecticut

Boyer  Times Union

JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, said that not being able to use debit cards is a "terrible inconvenience", but medical marijuana patients do not feel particularly threatened by Sessions' latest move.

A majority of states have decriminalized marijuana, made recreational use legal or approved medical marijuana, according to NORML, which tracks cannabis laws.

With a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia now allowing for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs, there will be significant attention on whether the DOJ follows through on the apparent aggressive stance signaled by the move to rescind the Cole Memoranda, whether Rohrabacher-Farr will be renewed and, whether Congress will pass laws that legalize, decriminalize or further restrict marijuana. Asked during a January 4 press conference about Sessions' announcement, Governor Hutchinson said he believes the DOJ and Sessions should distinguish between medical and recreational use when it comes to federal enforcement of existing laws.

California on last Monday became the sixth state - along with Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington - to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use. "For example", the memo reads, "prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources". They were reminded to continue working with federal authorities and agencies in other states in targeting the illegal trafficking of controlled substances. More blunt was the assessment by state Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock), who shepherded the medical marijuana policy framework through the legislature and who has worked to find banking institutions that will handle the state's medical cannabis industry. It comes as legalization of marijuana is at an all-time high in popularity with Republicans.

Officials however wouldn't say whether federal prosecutors would target marijuana shops and legal growers, nor would they speculate on whether pot prosecutions would increase. "I'm hoping that's enough to not get us pursued", said Z-berg.


Gardner says Sessions did agree to meet with a larger group of concerned Senators, who are already exploring ways to counter the recent policy change through legislation.

"When there are budget deficits and the like, everybody wants to know where is there an additional revenue stream, and one of the most logical places is to go after cannabis and cannabis taxes", said Beau Whitney, a senior economist at New Frontier Data. For Connecticut, where medical marijuana is legal, it puts both patients and the businesses that distribute it at risk.

What effects do people foresee on the burgeoning marijuana industry in the state? Sessions called their hard work and thoughtful approach "unnecessary".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the opening session of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery in Washington, D.C., on December 4. This bill would remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug; transition marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulate marijuana like alcohol by inserting it into the section of the U.S. Code that governs "intoxicating liquors".

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