In all reality, if Jeff Sessions has a bias against marijuana, that is his prerogative. Not doing his job though, is an unacceptable problem. The federal government not doing what it promised, and therefore is mandated to do, is completely unacceptable and that is what is happening with medical marijuana right now.
President Obama\’s administration promised in 2016 that federal marijuana research would expand to universities outside of the University of Mississippi, but Jeff Sessions has prevented that from happening. In fact, as of now there will be less marijuana researched for its medical value in 2017 than there was last year by the federal government.
This scheduling has also made life difficult for marijuana-based businesses. For example, most are unable to access basic banking services, ranging from a line of credit or loan to something as simple as a checking account. That\’s because banks answer to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federally created entity. Since pot is illegal at the federal level, it\’s always possible that banks could face money-laundering charges or fines for providing financial services to pot businesses.
Marijuana companies also find no solace come tax time. U.S. tax code 280E disallows businesses that sell federally illegal substances from taking corporate income-tax deductions. The end result is that they\’re forced to pay tax on their gross profits instead of net profits, assuming they\’re even profitable in the first place.
If there\’s been one small victory for pro-legalization enthusiasts at the federal level, it was the announcement from the Obama administration in 2016 that it\’d be removing some of the red tape that keeps researchers from examining the medical benefits and risks of cannabis. In particular, the new policy on medical-cannabis research was designed to allow other universities, aside from the University of Mississippi, which has been the only authorized cannabis grower for the federal government since 1968, to grow medical cannabis. Ending the University of Mississippi\’s monopoly and introducing new supply was expected to be a boon to the research industry.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, head of the Justice Department, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), have been butting heads for months over requests to expand medical-marijuana research (and supply in the process). Despite 25 proposals to grow medical cannabis on contract with the federal government, and a bipartisan letter requesting Sessions consider these proposals, the Justice Department has dug in its heels and thus far maintained a monopoly for the University of Mississippi.
As Forbesreports, the DEA has requested researchers grow 443,680 grams in 2018, or a tad over 978 pounds of cannabis, to conduct their research. This works out to a modest decline from the amount of cannabis produced for medical research in 2017. That\’s right, folks: Despite the federal government\’s announcement of an expansion of its medical-marijuana research program in 2016, it\’s broken that promise.
It is not a crazy idea that the Trump administration is opposing actions taken by President Obama during his time in office, they have very different perspectives on how to run the country. Do you think there is more to this apparent stalling by the federal government on researching marijuana than prejudice and their opposition to the Obama administration policies though?