No matter how many handy gadgets we recommend, the 4/20 holiday is legally tenuous for tokers in the 21 (mostly red) states that don’t allow for recreational or medical marijuana use. But that could change with a word from the president. A week after promising Colorado’s Republican senator that the feds would keep their hands off state-sanctioned marijuana operations, Trump has the opportunity to make good on his word. Will he?
While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to leave the matter of cannabis legalization to the states. However, shortly after entering office, both he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who himself had promised the same during his confirmation hearing, pivoted on the issue and threatened a federal crackdown on both recreational and medical marijuana in states where it was legal. This led the freshman GOP senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner, to blockade any and all of the President’s DOJ nominees until he received assurances that the feds would not interfere with state-regulated cannabis businesses.
Last Friday, Trump broke the standoff and promised to uphold his campaign pledge and leave cannabis legalization to individual states. But given how often the president pivots on well, just about every issue put before him, not to mention Sessions’ zealousness in enforcing drug statutes that incarcerate and harm minorities, can we really trust that this administration will do right by medical marijuana patients and respect states’ rights? Jonathan Havens, co-chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, is not convinced.
“I’m generally a bit skeptical,” Havens told Engadget. “Interested, encouraged, but skeptical … until there’s actually a proposal that’s out there, it’s debated, it’s voted out of Congress, and the president signed it into law.”
The entire debacle started in January when Sessions announced that he was rescinding the Cole memo, along with three other memos. The memoinformed US attorneys that, due to limited resources, the Justice Department would not enforce its federal prohibitions on cannabis in states that …..