Sessions Fills US Attorney Posts On LI, Manhattan

08 January, 2018, 04:57 | Author: Cassandra Gardner
  • 2015 BY RAINIER EHRHARDT. TRUMP

Announcing a "return to the rule of law", Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five key memos issued by the administration of president Barack Obama that discouraged enforcement of federal laws, which still classify marijuana as a unsafe narcotic like heroin.

It also prompted the resignation of the chairman of the state's Marijuana Control Board, who said the decision strips away the underpinning for the legal marijuana industry in Alaska. Ellen and Stu Smith are champions for the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain-and they believed something like this could happen. Voters in California approved the measure in November 2016, but the legal, commercial sale of marijuana under state law just went into effect with the new year.

The Obama-era policy of going easy on marijuana just went up in smoke, but it remains to be seen whether the new directive of Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have any impact on New York's nascent medical marijuana industry.

"The cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana has always been and remains a violation of federal law for all purposes", she later said in a statement.

Marijuana advocates say the push for legalization is still gaining momentum in the Lone Star state, and this could come down to a good ole fashioned battle over state's rights.

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"By not having that (banking) access they tend to be an all-cash business and that's subject to more criminality, and it makes it more hard to collect taxes because without a banking relationship you don't have an audit trail", Coffman said.

Yet officials suggested to reporters Thursday that businesses and growers in legalized states have gotten too comfortable and that the primacy of state law means very little in Washington.

Alex Levine, one of the owners of Green Dragon Cannabis Co., said that like much of marijuana industry, his company has kept a close eye on Sessions and what he may have planned for legal pot.

The governor said he expects to meet with the new top prosecutor in Nevada after she arrives. Justice Department officials said they would follow the law but would not preclude the possibility of medical-marijuana related prosecutions.

Advocacy groups said the Sessions revision not only flouted the president's previous commitments to local democracy but also amounts to bad public policy. She has not publicly said what her position will be on marijuana and did not immediately respond Thursday to messages.

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Under the state's medical marijuana law enacted in 2014, NY has 1,384 medical practitioners and 40,286 certified patients.

But at Green Dragon, Levine said the move won't cause any changes and they won't slow growth plans or scale back any operations.

While most local politicians met Sessions' move with swift condemnation, some marijuana critics are cheering it.

In Colorado, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said his office will continue to focus on "identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state". Effectively, Sessions has rescinded a 2013 guidance issued by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole that limited prosecutions as along as individuals and businesses were operating under their state's laws.

"President Trump has recognized medical marijuana as an appropriate exception to federal enforcement policy, but he has not said the same thing about recreational use", he said.

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