On February 8th, 2017, the Senate confirmed Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the new United States Attorney General. The Attorney General has the power to represent the government in all legal matters, serves as legal counsel to the President and is the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. With Jeff Sessions confirmed, many medical marijuana patients have gained a feeling of uncertainty regarding the future of their medication. The reason for this is that Senator Sessions has a past of vocally opposing marijuana legalization in any form. He has even gone on record stating, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”. However, it is a popular contention that the MMJ community has little to fear, at least for the foreseeable future. When it comes to revoking current medical marijuana legislation or preventing individual states from approving new legislation, here is what we currently know about the newly appointed Attorney General’s probable initiatives.
During Senator Sessions’ confirmation hearings, it was unclear as to how his Justice Department would approach states which have already legalized marijuana, as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. In response to questioning from Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sessions did state that he “won’t commit to never enforcing federal law”, but he did admit during these hearings the enforcement of federal marijuana laws could put an undue strain on the resources of the federal government.
Attorney General Sessions was appointed by President Trump and serves to implement the President’s agenda, not his own. Both President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have expressed strong support for individual states rights to establish their own laws and regulations concerning marijuana use, both from a recreational and medical use viewpoint. President Trump has previously voiced his personal support for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
In November of 2016, the Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, went on record to oppose marijuana legalization in the state. This stance was due to her concerns that the industry as a whole would be resistant to limits put on the potency of its products. However, Attorney General Healey also opposed Senator Sessions’ confirmation, so it’s unclear how vigorously she would respond to efforts by Sessions to roll back pro-marijuana legislation in the state.
Derek Peterson is a former banker for Morgan Stanley and CEO of Terra Tech, a large 200-person medical marijuana company that grows and sells in California and Nevada. Peterson believes the Trump administration, including Jeff Sessions, realizes the negative economic impact prohibitory laws could have on the industry. With the President’s focus on growing the economy and adding more jobs, it’s unlikely he would devote time and resources that would be necessary to dismantle a growing industry that is contributing to economic growth.
Between President Trump’s support of MMJ, his and Attorney General Sessions’ advocacy for state’s rights, and the majority of the public on the side of legalization, medical marijuana patients are urged not to panic. It seems unlikely that new legislation will be introduced any time soon. It’s also improbable that laws already in place or state’s efforts to instill new medical marijuana initiatives will be affected with Jeff Sessions confirmed.
Probably the biggest reason for MMJ patients not to worry about the future of their treatments is the overwhelming scientific evidence that cannabis is undeniably effective in treating a multitude of medical conditions. With further research and the increasing awareness of its healing capabilities, it is anticipated that medical marijuana will only continue to thrive throughout even more states in our nation, not less.
As always, MedWell Health and Wellness Centers is committed to keeping you up to date with the latest, most accurate information concerning medical marijuana in Massachusetts and across the United States. One way we are doing this is through our Facebook Page… so be sure to visit and “like” our page today!