Those of you not living in the United States may not understand the odd complexity of the marijuana laws across the country.
The states have been serving as laboratories of democracy. It is “a phrase popularized by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis…to describe how a ‘state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.'”
Though marijuana remained on the federal books as a controlled substance, the US Justice Department had agreed not to go after users and sellers who were operating legally in their states. That is, until early 2018, when the Justice Department rescinded that policy.
The Rockefeller Institute of Government released a policy brief on how U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recent actions put the Justice Department on a collision course with states. Know what to do and can marijuana actually help for PTSD treatment?
Even members of the GOP have blasted the new policy. US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said, “By attacking the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions has shown a preference for allowing all commerce in marijuana to take place in the black market, which will inevitably bring the spike in violence he mistakenly attributes to marijuana itself.
“He is doing the bidding of an out-of-date law enforcement establishment that wants to wage a perpetual weed war and seize private citizens’ property in order to finance its backward ambitions.”
This issue has affected my job. Even before the Sessions ruling, but since January 20, 2017, the SBDCs have cautiously determined that they cannot knowingly serve a business associated with marijuana, even in states where it’s legal.
Moreover, there is a very real fear that if centers were to go after alternative funding to serve those businesses, they could lose their SBA (federal) funding. So I can’t answer a reference question on the topic, or even refer them to NORML or another organization.
US Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) wrote: “For decades, the failed war on drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders, especially for marijuana-related offenses. This has wasted human potential, torn apart families and communities, and squandered massive sums of taxpayer dollars.”
He has introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which will remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances. I’m personally agnostic about marijuana use, but am vehemently opposed to its recriminalization.
For ABC Wednesday