New Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose Federal Intervention on Marijuana

Hannah Rogers
January 13, 2018

Cory Gardner, who is calling on the Trump administration to allow states to legalize marijuana without federal interference, is continuing his almost weeklong standoff with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the issue.

State and local police, Carmichael said, have their hands tied, and are bound to enforce MA laws. Sessions himself has done so on countless occasions, such as when he rescinded the Obama administration policy interpreting federal law to protect transgender students.

Since Sessions' announcement last Thursday, Lelling has issued two statements addressing how his office will proceed with federal marijuana law enforcement in light of the new guidance from Sessions.

According to a poll conducted by HuffPost and YouGov shortly after the DOJ announced new federal prosecution guidelines for marijuana at the state level, 56 percent of Americans surveyed said they are opposed to the federal government interfering with states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes.

In the memo issued last week, Sessions offers no specific instructions regarding federal marijuana enforcement, but instead allows US Attorneys to determine what federal resources should be devoted to marijuana enforcement based on their own assessment of priorities in their district.

The Cole memo allowed local marijuana sellers to be confident that they wouldn't be prosecuted if licensed by a state. The decision by Sessions to rescind the Cole Memoranda has created significant uncertainty for these businesses.

At Ermont on Tuesday, a medical marijuana dispensary in Quincy, they had a sign on the door, telling patients they could only buy with cash. "The real ramifications of this will be in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use". And medical marijuana has been recognized as helpful in treating the effects of chemotherapy and easing the eye pressure associated with glaucoma.

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Orens group has consulted with countries, states, and some of the countries largest cities on the implementation of legal marijuana.

The substance, however, remains federally prohibited and is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the same class as heroin and LSD. "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". The amendment was attached to an appropriations bill and barred the DOJ from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of medical marijuana laws. It further articulated a position by the federal government that in states that had enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct, the federal government meant to take a "hands-off" approach regarding the enforcement of such conduct, which, over the past several years, has led to very few prosecutions and a growing marijuana economy.

Sessions has the power to replace attorneys who don't enforce marijuana laws with those who will. Outlawing drugs also provides incentives for drug dealers to increase the potency - and thus the danger - of drugs, as higher-potency products take up less space and are thus easier to hide from law enforcement. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, 693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations, and of these, 609,423, or 88 percent, were arrested for simple possession. The frequency of violence committed by someone under the influence of marijuana is normally far below that of legal alcohol.

Sessions is a die-hard in the failed War on Drugs who sees marijuana as a gateway drug.

Yet, there is little benefit of illegality.

Ultimately, though, the question is whether states should be able to decide this question for themselves, including choosing to gain the taxes from legal marijuana. Former Reno reporter Brandon Rittiman, now a Colorado journalist, asked Trump during the campaign about the chance that his attorney general might try to crack down on marijuana.

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