Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs prosecutors to seek toughest drug charges, harshest practices of the drug war. How will cannabis industry professionals respond to Jeff Sessions memo?
In a two-page memo sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country and all assistant AGs in Washington, the policy orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”
The tough approach had fallen out of favor in recent years with a bipartisan movement to undo the damaging effects of mass incarceration. The new measures are expected to lead to more federal prosecutions and an increase in the federal prison population. The sweeping criminal charging policy overturns a 2013 memo issued under former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., who instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences.
The growing and fledgling cannabis industry in the U.S. will definitely need to band together perhaps now more than ever in order for us to not lose any of the ground we gained prior to this administration.
Priscilla Vilchis is an Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and the CEO of Premium Produce, and the only minority female CEO with two cultivation and manufacturing licenses in Nevada. She is currently in the middle of the application process in Los Angeles as well.
Vilchis has had the chance to work on the ground floor with the newly regulated cannabis market in Nevada, and explained, “It is disturbing to see our attorney general perpetuate War-on-Drugs era tactics that simply do not work, and will only increase America’s already overcrowded prison population. But as an increasing number of states continue to pass cannabis legislation and more research is conducted, I am confident federal legislation will eventually move in the industry’s favor.”
She added that “as members of the U.S. administration continue to issue conflicting and outright fallacious comments about cannabis, it is incredibly important to continue steering the dialogue surrounding legal cannabis and its use in a positive light by sticking to the facts. As industry members, we must continue to work together to destigmatize this wonderful plant that can do so much good for so many.”
Dr. Stuart Titus, is the CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc., a pioneer of the industrial hemp business and the first-ever approved export permit from the U.S. to Mexico and Brazil.
Dr. Titus stated, “The cannabis movement and momentum remains intact in spite of Attorney General Jeff Sessions comments re marijuana. We have recently seen West Virginia legalize cannabis in response to the opioid crisis as well as our National Institute on Drug Abuse recently report more favorable cannabis related information, again relating to an answer for the opioid crisis, and the general public remains firmly supportive of cannabis for medicinal usage and we vigorously support the sentiment of the general public.
Our industry has a growing body of support from the general public, state representatives and politicians – all of whom favor our industry. At this time we have a unique opportunity to self-regulate and get ahead of any future regulatory impositions that may come in the future. A strong and united voice will carry us to new heights – certainly with medical cannabis legal in 30 of 50 US States, there is a near mandate for at least medical usage legalization across our nation. Presently 8 states have recreational laws on the books and another two are possibly soon to follow.”
We agree, and certainly believe that it is time for us to stand together, perhaps now more than ever, in the cannabis legalization movement and industry.