Fox News is reporting today that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed federal policy on enforcing marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal. Well, sort of. The ‘federal policy’ that is being changed is a 2013 memo from then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole that it would not obstruct states that legalized marijuana if the drug was regulated not to hinder key federal enforcement priorities–preventing distribution to minors, preventing it being moved to other states, and preventing it used as a cover for other drug trafficking. Note–this was a memo not a law.
So exactly what did Attorney General Sessions do–he rescinded the memo.
The article reports:
The move effectively unleashes federal prosecutors to consider bringing marijuana cases, while stopping short of ordering them to do so.
“U.S. attorneys need to make decisions in these cases as they do in other drugs cases,” a senior DOJ official told Fox News.
Attorney General Sessions brought back prosecutorial discretion in dealing with marijuana cases. Again, he did not make a law–he undid a non-law.
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is now threatening to block every Justice Department nominee until Attorney General Sessions undoes his actions. Wait a minute, doesn’t Senator Gardner have the ability to propose a law that would clarify federal policy and solve this problem?
There are a few things that need to be mentioned here. To those of you who believe that marijuana is a miracle drug that ‘big pharma’ is keeping from the American people, remember that ‘big marijuana‘ also has a strong lobby pushing for legalization. Also keep in mind that if recreational marijuana becomes legal in all fifty states, there is no question that children and teenagers will get a hold of it. How many children and teenagers manage to get into their parents alcoholic drinks? There is sufficient evidence that marijuana, although not addictive, can negatively effect a teenage brain. There is also the impact of the drug on basic maturity in teenagers–if a teenager learns to simply get high rather than solve his basic problems, how will he deal with problems in later life? Unfortunately, this last comment is based on personal observation. Many years ago, there was a neighborhood teenager who routinely came home from school stoned. He was a really nice teen and a very bright and gifted child. As an adult, he has some physical symptoms possibly related to the drug use, but more than that, I believe the drug totally interfered with his ambition and ability to reach his potential. The good news is that he no longer smokes pot and has become a contributing member of society, but I believe that because of his drug use, he has never come close to his full potential.
Legalizing marijuana is a mistake. It will not improve the quality of life for those who use it or for America.