With the new administration in the U.S., many states that have legalized cannabis or medical cannabis are wondering what will happen to state marijuana programs. There has definitely been plenty of discussion here in Oregon about how things will continue to roll out and how the DOJ might deal with marijuana enforcement.
This week, we found out that states that have any kind of legalized marijuana policy in place might have a better idea by late July how the Department of Justice (DOJ) intends to handle marijuana enforcement under the Trump administration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo stating that the initial recommendations from the DOJ’s new task force on crime reduction and public safety would be due by July 27. The task force is expected to figure out ways to reduce violent crime and illegal immigration. Because of this, they will be evaluating existing policy in several different areas including marijuana enforcement, charging and sentencing, and asset forfeiture.
Uncertainly has lingered over what could happen to recreational or medical marijuana markets since Mr. Sessions took the lead at the DOJ. Of course, there have been many individuals and companies who have been concerned about this very issue since the new administration began office, and particularly since Sessions was appointed since he has been outwardly against anything related to marijuana policy reform.
Mr. Sessions’ memo states that task force subcommittees will “undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the department’s overall strategy on reducing violence crime and with the administration goals and priorities.”
Lawmakers in over 20 states have proposed bills this year to ease their marijuana laws despite Sessions’ warning that he could crack down on the world of weed. Bills have been introduced in 17 states this year to make recreational cannabis legal for adults, while 5 others are considering voter referendums on the issue. 16 states have introduced medical marijuana legislation and 10 are considering decriminalizing the drug.
Looking at these numbers would certainly make one believe that the big wheel of the cannabis legalization movement is only going forward at this point, so we will wait and see if this administration will be on board with this trent or not.