By Ed Coghlan.
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department has rescinded, effective immediately, Obama administration guidelines – known as the Cole memorandum – which directed US attorneys to not interfere with those compliant with state cannabis laws.
What does it mean to the residents of the 29 states and District of Columbia where medical cannabis is legal?
The truth is, not much is known yet.
Just last week, the National Pain Report published a story on whether medical cannabis, which millions of chronic pain patients use, was under attack. Ellen and Stu Smith are champions for the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain—and they believed something like this could happen.
Sessions, whose anti-marijuana stance is well-known, made the move this week although many experts feel that it is aimed more at slowing down the expansion of recreational marijuana—notably because it just became legal in California—the nation’s most populous state.
According to NORML,–a group that promotes legalization of marijuana–medical marijuana protections are still in effect, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
It’s worth noting that the Rohrbacher-Bluemenauer amendment must be approved each year, so it will come up for a vote again this year.
If you use medical cannabis for chronic pain—advocates recommended you contact your Congressional representative and express your concern about the implications of this week’s announcement.