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AG Sessions Upset as DOJ’s Task Force Decides to Allow Marijuana Laws

DOJ Marijuana

The Department of Justice’s task force subcommittee on marijuana policy has decided to not recommend any policy changes that would target state-legal marijuana programs or businesses operating in compliance with state laws.

The task force asked for continued study and dialogue on the issue, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). The recommendations are meant to inform ongoing policy decisions and are non-binding.

Since August 2013, Dept. of Justice policy has been not to enforce federal marijuana laws against individuals or businesses in states that are complying with state medical or adult-use marijuana laws, provided that one of eight federal priorities is not implicated.

In 2014, Congress passed an amendment to an omnibus spending bill that prevented the Dept. of Justice from spending any resources to interfere with state-legal medical marijuana laws. This amendment was subsequently renewed, but it now stands to expire on Sept. 30 unless it is approved in a congressional conference committee or Congress fails to pass a budget.

While on the campaign trail, President Trump was asked his view on state marijuana policy reform, and he consistently said it should be a states’ rights decision.

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws. Marijuana is legal and regulated for adults in eight states, and adult possession and limited home cultivation are legal in the District of Columbia.

According to an April poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 73 percent of U.S. voters “oppose government enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.” Ninety-four percent of U.S. voters support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes, and 60 percent support making marijuana legal in the United States.

Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the MPP, said, “The task force’s recommendations reflect the fact that the Dept. of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses. In states that have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, these businesses are creating jobs, generating revenue, protecting consumers, and making their communities safer. The vast majority of Americans want the federal government to let states determine their own marijuana policies. We hope the attorney general is paying attention and maintains the current policy of non-interference.”