The decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to change federal policy on filing lawsuits against marijuana businesses that have been otherwise approved by state lawmakers, is rankling republicans and democrats alike. The most disturbing parts of the policy shift is that California just started its recreational marijuana program on January 1st, and the move is contrary to what the Trump administration claimed it would do while campaigning for president.
For republicans like Rand Paul, the senator for Kentucky, the issue is his strong beliefs that marijuana is matter of state’s rights. For democrats like Ron Wyden, the senator for Washington where recreational marijuana is legal, not only does he believe it is the right of a state to decide its policies towards marijuana, but he also strongly believes that marijuana should be legalized nationally.
The attorney general’s move brought swift condemnation from both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. National Republican Senatorial Committee head Sen. Cory Gardner, who represents Colorado, where the marijuana market is legal and thriving, blasted Sessions as a liar. “This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation,” Gardner tweeted. “The Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states,” he wrote, vowing he’ll fight back: “I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.”Gardner’s discontent was echoed by fellow Republicans in the Senate. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another legalization state, called the move “disruptive” and “regrettable.” Rand Paul of Kentucky, where pot is illegal, called marijuana “a states’ rights issue,” adding, “the federal government has better things to focus on.”
On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, where marijuana is also legal, blasted the president. “Trump promised to let states set their own marijuana policies,” Wyden said in a statement. “Now he’s breaking that promise so Jeff Sessions can pursue his extremist anti-marijuana crusade.” For his part, Wyden is insisting that protecting state-legal marijuana markets must now be part of budget negotiations to avoid a government shutdown. “Any budget deal,” Wyden said, “must … prevent the federal government from intruding in state-legal, voter-supported decisions.”
Legal marijuana may be one of the most bipartisan issues in the United States. Do you believe that it is a coincidence that Jeff Sessions changed federal policy towards marijuana days after the largest legal marijuana market in the world became active in California?
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