HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Huffed And Puffed AG Sessions' Marijuana Crackdown Fizzles
Pubdate: Thu, 31 Aug 2017
Source: Tucson Weekly (AZ)
Copyright: 2017 Tucson Weekly
Contact:  http://www.tucsonweekly.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/462
Author: Nick Meyers

HUFFED AND PUFFED AG SESSIONS' MARIJUANA CRACKDOWN FIZZLES

It looks like Attorney General Jeff Sessions has run into some
problems in his crusade against the marijuana. While the new
Department of Justice administration has long been mounting pressure
against the marijuana industry, the latest suggestion from the Task
Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is to, well, do nothing.

The subcommittee was announced months ago and tasked with developing a
legal avenue for Session's marijuana crackdown. However, the
Associated Press reported the group "has come up with no new policy
recommendations to advance the attorney general's aggressively
anti-marijuana views."

According to the AP, the groups next step is to simply evaluate the
current policy outlined by the Obama-era Cole Memo, which suggests a
hands-off approach allowing states to experiment with the marijuana
industry.

The decision is the best-case scenario for recreational marijuana
states, four of which received foreboding letters from Sessions
leading up to expected suggestions on revamping marijuana
enforcement.

Three of the four states, Colorado, Washington and Oregon, replied to
Sessions' letters challenging his concerns. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
wrote that Sessions made "a number of allegations that are outdated,
incorrect, or based on incomplete information."

A letter from Washington state lawmakers to Sessions read: "We believe
your comments reflect a misunderstanding of what has happened in
Washington State since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012."

So it's only fitting that Sessions' own taskforce find little to do
about states' marijuana laws.

The lack of a renewed enforcement policy is good news for states like
Arizona looking to legalize recreational marijuana in the coming
years. If the task force created by the man with the most power to
disrupt the marijuana industry can't find any viable options for
increased enforcement, then the business must be doing something right.

Marijuana opponents often cite sources like reports from
High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, which typical paint a dismal
picture surrounding outcomes of recreational marijuana and the
proliferation of black market weed. But if Sessions' own taskforce
couldn't come up with a crackdown given that resource of data, then
how viable could that information be?

Like Inslee said in his letter, Sessions concerns are misguided.
Sessions even cited HIDTA reports in his letters, and now two
independent government bodies have decided there's not much to do about it.

This is good news for the integrity of our society, which marijuana
opponents have much concern about. Despite efforts to show that
marijuana somehow frays the fabric of public health, it looks like the
industry is doing most things right, which will likely lead to greater
acceptance of the business as a whole.

Here in Arizona, officials pointed to an issues surrounding the taxes
of Maricopa County marijuana businesses as an ironic acceptance of the
industry.

Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen has determined that medical
businesses have been remiss in a total of $1.5 million state and
federal property taxes. While that sounds like a bad thing, the mere
act of having the conversation (coupled with the businesses' eagerness
to comply with tax law, according to Scottsdale medical marijuana
attorney Ryan Hurley) indicates a wider acceptance of the industry.

Demitri Downing, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Trade
Association, believes the conversation indicates an advancement in
marijuana's societal acceptance.

"The real story here is: Oh my god, how the world has changed," he
told the Arizona Republic. "Now we're having an intelligent discussion
about fixing these small issues instead of prohibition or no
prohibition."

Hopefully Sessions' task force now moves on to that discussion, since
even it decided prohibition is not the next chapter of marijuana in
the United States.
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MAP posted-by: Matt