This year has been a controversial one for marijuana reform. As more and more states continue to legalize the plant, a push forward towards ending prohibition has been imminent. At the same time, the Trump administration has proven to show some resistance to this idea. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a long time prohibitionist who has been at the helm of the fear sweeping through the marijuana industry. Sessions has made bold statements regarding marijuana in the past, stating that “good people” don’t use marijuana and that it was just slightly better than heroin. His attitude hails back to the “just say no” Reagan days, reefer madness and propaganda that failed to curb drug use or lower arrest rates.
Bills Aimed at Rescheduling and Descheduling Cannabis
Sessions has expressed a desire to go after medical and recreational marijuana this year, asking Congress for permission to use federal money to do so. The attitude across the country however has been much different. Several bipartisan bills are being reviewed that seek to legalize marijuana or protect states rights to do so. There has been a strong push in general to reschedule or deschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug which makes it illegal on a federal level. This scheduling also regards it at the same risk level as heroin. Bills exist that seek to reschedule it so that it can be considered in the same way as any prescription medication or descheduled entirely in a manner similar to alcohol and cigarettes.
Federal Examination of Colorado Marijuana Regulation
Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper has been particularity concerned for the new attitude from the Trump administration. Colorado was one of the first places to legalize recreational marijuana and Hickenlooper has been concerned for the state’s marijuana industry. He met with Sessions earlier this year and invited officials to Colorado for an inside look at the workings of the industry in the state. Agents for the deputy attorney general, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Domestic Policy were present at the meeting in Colorado. Along with these federal representatives, Colorado’s Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and representatives for various agencies including the Department of Revenue, Department of Public Health and Environment, Department of Public Safety, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Department of Regulatory Agencies were included. Officials were happy to get an inside view into the workings of the industry and the meeting may play a part in how marijuana policy is approached by the Trump administration.
Veteran Response to Federal Attitude Toward Marijuana
Another organization putting pressure on the administration to create a policy change is the American Legion, the largest wartime veterans service organization in the country. Veterans are demanding to have the right to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD, pain and injuries that millions of other Americans have the right to use. “We were hearing these compelling stories from veterans about how cannabis has made their lives better,” said Joseph Plenzler, a spokesman for the American Legion. “That they were able to use it to get off a whole cocktail of drugs prescribed by VA doctors, that it is helping with night terrors, or giving them relief from chronic pain.”
One way or another, there is a push towards mass education and policy change in the country that is bound to be heard sooner or later by federal officials.