Thursday, August 3, 2017
Effective review of back-and-forth between AG Sessions and legalization states over marijuana policies
At HuffPost, Matt Ferner has this lengthy new article discussing the various ways in which marijuana legalization states have made their case to the Trump Administration about their reformed marijuana laws. The article is headlined "Legal-Weed States Tell Jeff Sessions Their Programs Are Working. He Might Crack Down Anyway." It merits a full read, along with some of the notable documents linked within, and here are excerpts:
Marijuana legalization is going smoothly in Colorado and Oregon, state officials recently told the Justice Department as it prepares for a shift in federal law enforcement priorities that could include changes to marijuana policy.
But Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a staunch drug opponent, nevertheless is considering reversing the Obama administration’s relaxed approach to state legalization, and may resume strictly enforcing federal laws, which still regard all marijuana use as illegal....
Colorado and Oregon ― among eight legal-weed states that know the issues best ― produced detailed reports on their experiences, officials said.
A 140-page report from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) office contains data and analysis from six state agencies, showing that the state’s 2014 marijuana legalization didn’t significantly increase youth drug abuse, school dropouts or juvenile arrests.
Statistics do show a rise in car crashes and fatalities involving motorists testing positive for cannabinoids. But Colorado’s report notes the statistics may not prove more drivers are intoxicated, because inactive marijuana compounds can be detected for more than a month in some individuals. Marijuana DUIs have declined 21 percent in the first six months of 2017 from the same period a year earlier. ...
A 19-page report prepared by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) office gives a positive view of legalization that safeguards public safety, and describes the state’s robust system tracking weed from seed to sale. The document was first made public in June following a records request by Oregonian reporter Noelle Crombie.
Oregon’s report acknowledges the continued existence of a marijuana black market. It also notes legalization’s hiccups, including “overproduction” and new laws it needed to place limits on growers and to increase penalties for marijuana-related crimes....
Washington state, which also legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, has sent Sessions’ office three letters defending the state’s legalization scheme under current federal policy, and requested a meeting with Sessions, a representative from Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) office told HuffPost.
Inslee’s office received a reply from Sessions on Wednesday expressing skepticism of the state’s marijuana legalization. Sessions’ letter cites a 2016 law enforcement report that he says “raises serious questions about the efficacy of marijuana ‘regulatory structures’ in your state.”