Although over 64 percent of Americans say they support the legalization of Recreational Marijuana (72% of Democrats, and a slim majority, 51%, of Republicans), and an overwhelming 94 percent of adults (96% of independents, 95% of Democrats and 90% of Republicans) support Medical Marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on January 4th rescinded three memos from the Obama administration that had signaled a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws. Sessions now shifts federal policy from a hands-off approach to unleashing federal prosecutors across the country to decide individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in states where it is legal.
Eight states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — plus the District of Columbia allow recreational sales of marijuana. Another 22 states allow some form of medical marijuana and 15 allow the lesser marijuana extract, medical CBD.
US Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out no one who has seriously studied the issue believes that marijuana should be classified as a Schedule 1 drug beside killer drugs like heroin. To the contrary, Sanders believes the federal government should allow states the right to move toward the decriminalization of marijuana, not reverse the progress that has been made in recent years.”
No, Attorney General Sessions. Marijuana is not the same as heroin. We should allow states the right to move toward the decriminalization of marijuana, not reverse progress that has been made.
~ US Senator Bernie Sanders
Our representative from Hawai’i, Tulsi Gabbard, emailed supporters warning that Attorney General Sessions has now put every state with policies of legalized medical and recreational marijuana on high alert, escalating the failed, so-called “War on Drugs.”
Millions of people in Hawai‘i and across the country will be at risk of arrest and federal prosecution for possessing, using, or selling marijuana—even though it is legal and in accordance with the statutes of their state.
~ US Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Representative Tulsi identified some of the Americans who will be harmed by Sessions’ decision. More than 80 percent of veterans in the American Legion voted two months ago in favor of a resolution legalizing medical marijuana at the federal level. Veterans suffering from invisible wounds like Post-Traumatic Stress and chronic pain or with addiction to opioids. Tulsi says they deserve our commitment to researching every possible treatment to help them. She claims Sessions now fails them.
States that have passed medical marijuana laws have seen a correlating drop in opioid-related deaths. Parents of children with epilepsy, cancer, and other serious and chronic conditions are fighting for greater research and legal use of medical marijuana. They have rallied behind Tulsi’s bill H.R. 1227, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.
Deputy Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Grant Smith, said yesterday that Sessions has a long track record of being very punitive in his views on marijuana policy. He was one of chiefest opponents in the Senate with respect to reforming drug sentencing laws. He was one of the only and most outspoken opponents to marijuana reform in the Senate.
The announcement by Sessions is the biggest sign yet he wants to prioritize this, despite all the evidence that refutes any notion that federal interference in state marijuana laws, or any interference in state marijuana reform efforts, is productive.
~ Grant Smith, Drug Policy Alliance
No, Attorney General Sessions. Marijuana is not the same as heroin.