Thursday, January 4, 2018

California and Jeff Sessions' Big Marijuana Legalization Hang-up

by Nomad

I produced this short film about a surprising moment in California history and the man who would like to see that history reverse itself.
Last week, recreational use for cannabis became legal - at least, in some areas- for the first time since the state officially declared marijuana illegal in 1913.
It was a high point in the state's history, you might say.

California is merely joining states like Colorado and Washington that have approved of recreational use. And other states have declared their intention to follow suit.
There are some good reasons for that.
The pot business has since become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar industry that helps fund schools, educational programs and law enforcement. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and California’s sales alone are projected to bring in $1 billion annually in tax revenue within several years.
Besides that, marijuana isn't the demon weed it once was. 
Last summer, CBS News poll revealed that support for legalizing marijuana was higher than it had ever been.
Sixty-one percent of Americans think marijuana use should be legal, a five-point increase from last year and the highest percentage ever recorded in this poll. Eighty-eight percent favor medical marijuana use.

Seventy-one percent oppose the federal government’s efforts to stop marijuana sales and its use in states that have legalized it, including opposition from most Republicans, Democrats, and independents.
It happens to be one of the very few topics that Americans - regardless of their particular political view- can agree upon. And yet, this comforting fact does not seem to weigh too heavily on Mr. Jefferson Beaugegard Session, Donald Trump's Attorney General.

If he had his way, America would soon be returning to the "good" old days where simple possession of marijuana could mean life in prison. Despite the fact that California authorized the sale of cannabis for recreational use, Sessions took the unusual step of reversing Obama-era drug policy.

According to unnamed whisperers inside the Department of Justice, Session will allow federal prosecutors where pot is legal decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law.
In the 29 states where medical marijuana and where recreational use allowed, this puts the federal government in direct conflict with state authority.
Or it would seem to.

If nothing else, Sessions decision will add confusion in an administration where there has already been no shortage.