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Mar 10

Pot Matters: Sessions Backs Down on Legalization – High Times

As first reported by Politico, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has privately reassured some Republican senators that he won’t deviate from an Obama-era policy of allowing states to implement their own marijuana laws.”Senator Rand Paul revealed that Sessions affirmed his support for “states’ rights on these things.’Senator Cory Gardner has reportedly talked to several administration officials and has the impression that there will not be a significant change in federal policy toward his state, which has legalized marijuana, nor toward others.A bi-partisan group of senators from legalization states, led by Elizabeth Warren and Lisa Murkowski have written Sessions urging the Department of Justice to continue a policy of letting states enact such laws, describing them as having “strong and effective regulations for recreational use.”With eight states having legalized marijuana so far, this means 16 U.S Senators have a direct interest in restraining federal intervention. Of these, five are Republicans—a pivotal number when considering that their party only has a two-seat majority in the Senate. The potential opposition to federal intervention is even deeper and more powerful when considering the senators from states with medical marijuana laws.There is simply insufficient political support for the Justice Department to significantly interfere with state-level marijuana legalization laws.This doesn’t mean there won’t be targeted attempts to harass the marijuana industry, particularly in cases that appear to violate the spirit and/or letter of state law. An obvious target of federal law enforcement will be cultivation operations suspected of generating exports to other states.But as previously argued in this column, recent comments suggesting a counter-revolution have more to do with perception and policy.There is still grounds for apprehension on the part of local officials and industry executives, although this derives from uncertainty about just who will hold key Justice Department positions. This uncertainty cuts both ways.

Source: Pot Matters: Sessions Backs Down on Legalization – High Times