What Does Sessions Move on Marijuana Mean for Medical Cannabis?

What Does Sessions Move on Marijuana Mean for Medical Cannabis?

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United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department has rescinded, effective immediately, Obama administration guidelines – known as the Cole memorandum – which directed US attorneys to not interfere with those compliant with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.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Steven Smith at 4:58 am

    Why in Jeff sessions world does a genetic defect constitute a crime?

  2. Michael G Langley, MD at 8:10 pm

    Considering 64% of US citizens want to have it legalized, I doubt they are going to be to do it and get elected, again. Trump has seemed to state that it is a states rights issue, as Rand Paul agrees. Since Rand seems to have had his ear about the Obamacare problem, I hope his influence, and all of us who agree, see it as a racist law that needs to be ended. It was used by Nixon, et al, to attack the protestors of his time. It was directed at “blacks and hippies”. Let’s hope that Sessions is voted down, and possible tenders his resignation when he discovers how unpopular the direction, he is attempting to take, is.

  3. Sheryl A Bell at 8:01 am

    Its been a year since my chronic pain has permanetly changed my life. With medical cannabis I have been able to cut back my oxi to only 2 times a day and working on being off of opioids all together. These chronic pain patients that need their medicine (oxi) to lead a Disstorted normal life are hassled to fill their prescriptions and now you want to mess with the one thing that is natural that is truly helping me and many other pain suffers.
    If you had to live in pain, or you had a loved one that did , and I mean Pain everyday 24/7, I know you would look at this all in a different light. Please, dont be fooled by biased, uninformed bureaucrats that dont live in our world of pain.

  4. Bob Schubring at 6:16 am

    What’s missing is the rest of the story.

    Jeff Sessions is presently being sued in his official capacity by a group of plaintiffs, in the case known as “Washington v Sessions”, Case No 17 Civ 5625 in the US District Court at New York City. The lawyers suing him, Hiller PC, post the following link to their Complaint that began the case: http://www.hillerpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Filed-Complaint-with-Dkt.-No.pdf

    If I’m reading the complaint correctly, plaintiffs allege multiple violations of the US Constitution by the DEA, whom Mr Sessions is legally obligated to supervise:
    1. The Commerce Clause allows federal regulation of goods and services delivered across state lines. But DEA not only regulates drugs that move across state lines, it also tries to enter private homes and prohibit people from growing plants for their own personal medicinal use (opium poppies, cannabis plants). That’s not interstate commerce so it is improper for DEA to pretend it is.
    2. The Fifth Amendment Due Process clause provides that the Government must follow it’s own laws. To obey the Controlled Substances Act in scheduling a substance on Schedule I, the Government must know and believe the substance to have no medical use and to be so dangerous that it can not be tested for medical uses. The Government does not genuinely believe that cannabis is too dangerous to test because it has tested and continues testing cannabis, and does not believe that cannabis is useless, because of it’s past history of use and it’s recent taking out of a patent, seeking to force corporations to pay it money, for using cannabis abroad as an antioxidant additive to food and pharmaceuticals, where such use is legal.
    3. Evidence shows that the Nixon Administration created the DEA and asked it to put cannabis on Schedule I, to provide it a tool to harass civil rights groups representing African-Americans. Prosecutions of African-Americans for cannabis use continue to outnumber prosecutions of members of all other ethnic groups, in a continuing pattern of racial animus that’s prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Sessions has asked the judge to dismiss the case. Oral arguments are to be held later this month and the judge will rule on Sessions’ motion to dismiss. The lawyers suing Sessions have a motion before the judge, on which the judge may rule, if he does not dismiss the case, seeking an injunction to prevent Sessions and any federal agent from arresting the plaintiffs if they travel to Washington DC to the Capitol Building, while possessing their medical cannabis. At least one Congressman wants the plaintiffs to appear before his committee and testify and has said so in writing…but plaintiffs need their medicine to be able to travel safely.

    The Sessions memo, seen in light of the lawsuit, takes on a new shade of meaning. By leaving it up to the discretion of local United States Attorneys in each US Judicial District, whether to prosecute, Sessions has created for himself an escape tool, allowing the plaintiffs to negotiate a temporary-immunity deal with a local US Attorney at their homes (New York City and Denver) and the US Attorney for Washington DC, to allow them to board the airplane with their medicine, travel to the Capitol Building, testify to a Congressional committee, then board another airplane and fly straight home, without being arrested at the airports for boarding a plane with their Schedule I medicine.

    Effectively, Sessions is saying, “Stop suing me. Deal with each of my subordinates separately and work out a deal.”

    We will see what the judge says to that.

  5. Jasmin at 4:05 am

    I just don’t believe this mess!!!!!! All I am going to say is that messing with chronic patients who take meds is not enough, now the government is of course making a mess again with chronic pain patients who use cannabis….

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