as of 22 Jan 2018

Those of you not living in the United States may not understand the odd complexity of the marijuana laws across the country.

Several states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. A growing number of jurisdictions have made it available for recreational use.

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 That is, until early 2018, when the Justice Department rescinded that policy.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.

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“He is doing the bidding of an out-of-date law enforcement establishment that wants to wage a perpetual weed war and seize private citizens’ property in order to finance its backward ambitions.”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

10 Responses to “M is for the US marijuana laws”

  • Uthaclena says:

    “US Senator (D-NJ) wrote: ”
    You meant Cory Booker, yes?

  • Roger says:


  • Margy says:

    Our town, Powell River BC, has a medical marijuana company opening an operation in an old empty building at our paper mill site. As paper needs decline (they used to focus on newsprint, now it’s paper towels), pot needs are on the rise. Right now there is a medical marijuana need in Canada. Soon it will become recreational. Boy, how times change. – Margy

  • Alison Craig says:

    Since I’m expecting a future of chronic, possibly severe pain, I’m looking into the option of using something marijuana based someday if it seems useful. It looks like I may have limited access options for this.

  • Sessions (shudder!) poor Democracy, seeking a way to survive right now. I have high hopes it will thrive again.

  • CGHill says:

    My own thinking is that (1) the stuff is probably not as good for you as its proponents claim and (2) that’s still no reason to the Feds to keep on acting like it’s cyanide-laced cotton candy.

  • Lots of different opinions about this… throughout the whole world… I do believe that when legalised crime will drop… but hey, who am I 😉

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♪ (ABC-W-team)

  • I wonder how much Sessions and his cronies make by marijuana being sold on the black market.

  • Well, John Boehner is now a pot pusher. About 5 minutes after he announced that he was in the dope dealing business, the Pussygrabber administration announced it was laying off harassing states with legalization. Money talks! Criminalization goes up in smoke!

  • mark hayes says:

    If only the public would how it became outlawed in the first place they would go nuts. It only takes a little research…

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