The Trump Administration is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country.
The move adds to the confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy, or use marijuana in states where pot is legal since the long-standing federal law prohibits it.
“Jeff Sessions’ determination to revive the failed War on Drugs knows no bounds.” Booker said. “History has shown that our deeply broken drug laws disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color and cost us billions annually in enforcement, incarceration, and wasted human potential, without making us any safer. This unjust, backwards decision is wrong for America, and will prove to be on the wrong side of history.”
Session’s memo comes days after pot shops opened in California, launching what is expected to become the world’s largest market for legal recreational marijuana and, as polls show, a solid majority of Americans believe the drug should be legal.
New Jersey and Delaware have had medical marijuana programs for several years. Pennsylvania is set to make medicinal cannabis available in the coming months for patients suffering from any one of 17 serious health conditions. It was unclear Thursday morning how Session’s move will impact the state programs.
While Sessions has been carrying out an agenda that follows Trump’s top priorities on such issues as immigration and opioids, the changes to pot policy reflect his own concerns. Trump previously has stated decisions about marijuana should be left to the states, but the president is known to change his mind on a whim.
Reaction in the Philadelphia region to the Sessions announcement was swift.
“Will Sessions single-handedly crush a $7.2 billion industry spanning 30 states, generating millions in taxes, and providing tens of thousands of jobs?” said Steve Schain, an attorney with the Hoban Law Group, a national firm with dozens of marijuana business clients.
Lindy Snider, a cannabis-industry investor who is prominent in Libertarian circles, said rescinding the Obama-era policy “makes absolutely no sense.”
“I’m so angry about it,” Snider said. “The government is supposed to operate at the will of the governed. That’s just part of the American Constitution. This should not be about Jeff Session’s opinions. Over 50 percent of Americans say legalize this. He better have a damn good plan.”
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