Congressional Cannabis Caucus Demands Feds Butt Out of Legal Marijuana States

In his appointment testimony before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, U.S.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that it is not the responsibility of the Attorney General to pick and choose which federal laws to enforce.

“One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act,” he said. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

On the one hand, the AG does set priorities and policies regarding enforcement.
For example, under Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr., AG Dick Thornburgh ordered the nation’s federal prosecutors in drug cases, including cannais, to file the most serious charges possible and always push for the most severe penalities they thought they could have imposed. Under President Obama, AG Holder advised the same prosecutors to file lesser charges when possible to reduce the social harms and prison costs run up under his predecessors.

President's and Congress's failure hurt the nation

President Obama failed to reschedule marijuana, which would have taken him about five minutes, during his eight years in office, leaving in place all the problems that Schedule 1 entails for society. Nobody knows what “so-called” President Trump has in mind  probably not even the man himself.

Sessions has a deplorable record regarding marijuana, including pushing for the death penalty for drug offenders and joking that the only thing he doesn’t like about the racist terrorist organization the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is that some of its members smoke pot.

Rather than trust his judgement, it is time for Congress to change the law once and for all.

Congressional Cannabis Caucus takes the lead

Currently the annual federal budget keeps U.S. agencies from violating States Rights in regard to industrial hemp and medical marijuana reforms. The rules have been upheld by the courts, but they are tenuous because any year’s new budget could eliminate those protections.

Anticipating Session’s anti-cannabis bent, a few hours prior to Sessions’ confirmation vote, US Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) joined six other Republicans and six Democrats to introduce bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act.’ The bill would prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

The bill, HR 975, states, ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

Keeping the ‘Dogs of Drug War’ reined in

National polls show that 60 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, but recent history shows that a majority of public opinion or even a majoity of registered voters at the polls does not mean that the will of the people will be followed by government bureaucrats.

Passage of HR 975 would halt Sessions or any other federal official from prosecuting individuals and businesses for violating the Controlled Substances Act in the 29 states that permit either the medical or adult use and distribution of marijuana.

This reform is essential now that 28 states have legalized medical use in some form, eight states have legalized adult use and regulated the adult market, and 16 states have industrial hemp legislation on the books.

Call or write your member of Congress to support HR 975

With Sessions at the helm of the nation’s prosecutors and federal police, passage of this Act is essential to ensure that cannabis patients and others are protected from undue and devastating federal interference, lengthy prison sentences and seizure of homes, bank accounts and real property.

“Please take action today to urge your federal lawmakers to support HR 975, the ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’” encouraged National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) executive director Eric , “and when you have finished, please also take a moment to make a generous and much appreciated donation to NORML so we can continue our federal and statewide efforts.”


Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.