After a crusade to try and repeal Obama-era policies protecting states’ marijuana laws, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally come to announce that they “are bound by” current policies, which will remain in effect for the time being.
“Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes,” Forbes reported Sessions as saying, referring to previous attorneys general and their policy.
This announcement (of sorts) comes after months of watching Sessions attempt to instill fear in states with legal cannabis and attempting to have these policies changed. It started with a letter to congress in which Sessions asked for them not to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.
Since then, Sessions also created a task force that was supposed to, among other things, review and suggest changes to the current policies concerning medical marijuana. However, the task force “has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views.”
More recently, even though he is now admitting that the Department of Justice is restricted in using funds on marijuana related cases, he is still finding ways to put the industry on edge.
In recent weeks, Maine Governor LePage vetoed a bill that would set up the regulatory and licensing framework to allow legal sales of cannabis, as approved by voters. In his letter citing his reasoning for the veto, LePage stated that until he knew how the government was planning to handle the conflicting state and federal laws he felt it was better to delay diving into legalization any further.
This thought process was brought on after LePage sought out advice from the Attorney General on whether it was a wise move to pass the bill. Even though Sessions is not able to spend Department of Justice funds, he is still finding ways to stall and potentially prevent more states from taking action to legalize cannabis.
So while from a legal standpoint, Sessions cannot interfere with state marijuana users or businesses as long as they are in full compliance with state laws, he is still finding ways to prevent the growth of the industry.
As it stands right now, state and federal laws on cannabis will continue to conflict with one another.