Protecting Legal Marijuana – An Initiative Of Democratic And Republic Congressmen

The only way to respect the marijuana laws is sensible enforcement of the Cannabis Act.

In February 2018, Matt Gaetz, a Republic congressman of Florida, and Lou Correa, a Democratic congressman of California, introduced “bipartisan legislation” that would protect the interests of states that have legalized marijuana.

This proposed legislation is referred to as the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act.

Cole Memo

The legislation would replace the legal marijuana protections of the Obama era, which is called Cole Memo. James Cole, Obama’s deputy Attorney General, wrote the memorandum in 2013. In January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole’s memo.

Gaetz said in a statement that Cole Memo did achieve “admirable policy goals,” but since it was not passed through Congress, it was too easily dismantled. Unlike bills, memorandums are not actual laws, but only an informal agreement.

The Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act would prohibit the Attorney General from prosecuting conduct that involves recreational and medical marijuana within states that have legal marijuana laws.

However, the legislation must comply with laws of that state.

Correa Released A Statement

In a statement, Correa said, “To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of Cannabis.”

“Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the ‘Cole Memo’ created great uncertainty for these states and legal cannabis businesses, and put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws,” Correa said.

Correa referred to Sessions’ actions as a “federal overreach” that is not in the best interest of California. In fact, California’s economy is fueled by legal cannabis benefits, adding approximately $1 billion to the state’s tax revenue each year.

The Will Of The American Voter

Correa is one politician that guarantees the Americans voter’s opinion will be respected. This fact has been well evident, as Correa has supported legal marijuana initiatives in the past.

He even sent a letter to the Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin to ask why veterans are being denied services if they tested positive for marijuana on drug test.

Even in states where medical marijuana is legal the VA has denied many veterans treatment. In addition to this, Correa asked the government to conduct in depth research into the use of opioids, as compared to the used of medical marijuana.

It should be these actions that make Correa a large supporter of medical marijuana.

David Shulkin

Other Newcomers

Over the years, there have been many newcomers that have passed through the senate and government that have spoken outright for the legalization of marijuana. As of recent, one that should be noted is Gaetz.

While he is a relatively a new member of Congress, he has been highly outspoken about the legalization of cannabis.

In fact, as of last year he one of the few members that was willing to put his name on a letter that demanded answers from Jeff Sessions, as to why the government had been blocking the DEA from approving licenses to many new cultivators.

Judges Rejects Lawsuit

This week, it was announced that a federal judge had dismissed a lawsuit attempting to challenge marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. For the time being, this means that cannabis will remain in the same category as ecstasy and heroin.

United States District Judge Alvin Hellerstein made his ruling from a Manhattan federal court on Monday. The plaintiffs, which included medical marijuana patients, claimed that the Schedule 1 categorization was unconstitutional.

In the judge’s ruling, he concluded that the plaintiffs’ claim was actually administrative and not one based on the constitution. The lawsuit was initially initiated by attorneys for the plaintiffs back in July of this year. The attorneys argued that their clients’ constitutional rights had been violated by federal laws, which criminalized the plant.

To date, 29 states and D.C. have already legalized the plant for recreational or medical purposes. The attorneys claimed that their clients were unjustly suffering, due to the consequences of federal law. Again, the lawsuit has been dismissed.

Therefore, marijuana will remain classified alongside heroin and ecstasy.

Kentucky medical marijuana

Kentucky Is Next

While the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act isn’t moving in Congress, there is some good news on the horizon. On Monday, advocates that wish to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky spoke to a legislative panel.

These individuals told the panel that marijuana was a safer alternative to opioid painkillers.

The president of Kentuckians For Medical Marijuana has made it clear that the bill, House Bill 166, is not about having fun. Instead, he went on to say that “This is about sick patients, qualifying patients, having access to a plant created by our Creator”.

Monday’s testimony was limited to supporters of the bill. Opponents are expected to speak out during the next hearing. It is unknown whether or not the bill will pass. However, one representative promised that they were close on the votes.

This could be a good sign for marijuana legislation at the federal level.

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