U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is still waiting for a crime-reduction task force to provide him with recomendations over federal marijuana policy before making any definitive plans toward the potential castration of the legal cannabis trade.
The so-called marijuana subcommittee, which has been conducting its review of legalization in the depths of super secrecy, is expected to deliver its recommendations to Sessions by the end of next month.
There is speculation that the coming report could be the end of the cannabis industry, as we have come to know it. The task force, which is reportedly being guided by Michael Murray, counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, could possibly lead to the demise of an Obama-era memo (Cole) that gives states the freedom to experiment with legal wed. It is conceivable that a new, more restrictive memo will be issued its place.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the Department of Justice is being extremely mysterious about what the review is all about. To make matters more confusing, no one seems to know who is taking part in the process, and federal officials are not allowing any guidance from lawmakers or groups close to industry. In fact, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, a member of the newly formed Cannabis Caucus, recently reached out to Sessions to discuss the issue of marijuana legalization. But his request was rejected.
Some believe that Sessions’ unwillingness to meet in the middle could spell bad news.
“Without knowing much about the approach the subcommittee is taking, it’s hard to say whether we’d expect them to reach out,” said Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs. “So far, [Sessions'] comments have not indicated a lot of willingness to work together toward common ground.”
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd back in April that Attorney General Sessions did not give him the impression that he planned to pull the plug on legalization. Sessions reportedly told Hickenlooper, “You haven’t seen us cracking down, have you?” when grilled over his approach to dealing with statewide legalization.
"He didn't give me any reason to think that he is going to come down and suddenly try to put everyone out of business," Hickenlooper said, adding that this does not mean that Sessions would cut marijuana any slack.
Although Trump proclaimed throughout his presidential campaign that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” he has not been very supportive on the issue. In fact, during the recent signing of a federal budget bill, which includes medical marijuana protections know as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, Trump made it clear that he had no problem defying Congress if he would ever decide to tear down the medical marijuana community.
"Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility," Trump said in a statement.
Some of the more arrogant members of the cannabis industry still do not believe it is possible for the federal government to “put the genie back in the bottle,” but policy experts say these people are “insane.”
John Hudak, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution said earlier this year, that the marijuana trade “is small by any metric of American capitalism. You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”
Attorney General Sessions’ task force is expected to deliver its recommendations by July 27.