The state of cannabis in the U.S. has been in quite a topsy-turvy area for some time now, with a battle between states fighting for marijuana legislation and the government denying it or at least turning an eye to the legalization. In a note made on Friday, June 8th, Jeff Sessions stated that he had missed an invite to discuss moving forward with marijuana legislation in a meeting with Senator Cory Gardner and President Donald Trump.
An interview covered by the Colorado Public Radio station stated that Sessions has repeatedly missed meetings between the two, where marijuana legislation was expected to move forward. At the current time, it appears as though Donald Trump is in favor of states regulating and passing their own marijuana laws, but Sessions is still standing in the way of that.
He stated that “I was not a participant in the meetings he had at the White House, so I don’t know details of that except that it remains clear that the Cole memo has been withdrawn and the impact of that is essentially to make clear that we are not guaranteeing—and cannot guarantee—persons who use or distribute marijuana are protected from federal prosecution. I don’t think that’s appropriate for me to, in effect, violate or neuter federal marijuana laws.” This is a changing sentiment from the Attorney General as he has been a stark opponent to the legalization of cannabis for some time now. Stating this is quite a big deal because it shows that the sentiment from the government may be changing in favor of cannabis in the near future.
Senator Gardner introduced a piece of legislation to help with cannabis reform that has been picking up a large amount of attention in recent news. Trump has stated that he supports the states rights to choose known as the STATES Act, and stated directly that he “will probably end up supporting the bill.”
The STATES Act would help to change the failed Controlled Substances Act in order to allow states the federal right to allow marijuana industries to boom internally. The Controlled Substances Act listed marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic right alongside heroin and other detrimental drugs which effectively does not make too much sense. The current scheduling of cannabis has made it so that businesses cannot have access to the financial services that they need, and thus the industry has been met with a new series of challenges. Sessions went on to state that this bill needs to be further examined so that it can potentially be voted on by Congress, but until that point, cannabis will stay as an illegal substance as far as the federal government is concerned. The Scheduling of cannabis has meant that it is not known to have any medicinal value as well as a high rate of addiction associated with other Schedule I narcotics. This simply does not make sense, and a myriad of scientific journals have shown that it is quite the opposite as far as health is concerned.
The industry on cannabis has been booming throughout North America with new businesses looking to open doors across the nation. The only thing that is still standing in the way is the nonsensical legislation put in place by the federal government. The hopes are high that the next few years will be instrumental in shifting the paradigm so that it is in favor of cannabis as the public seems to agree with. Only time will tell how these small events will transform the landscape on cannabis in the U.S.