Nearly one-fifth of Americans live in a state where smoking weed is legal. Voters in 8 states, and the District of Columbia have in recent years voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
US Attorney General Jefferson Sessions has attempted to throw a thick blanket over the burgeoning marijuana industry and the expansion of these citizens’ right to smoke pot. Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era rule in the Department of Justice that reprioritizes marijuana cases to the bottom of the list – don’t bother with weed at the federal level.
But this was a tepid response by President Obama.
This is what happens when our elected leaders fail. Obama should have worked to have marijuana removed from the list of scheduled drugs like heroin. Keeping marijuana on the scheduled drug list keeps the attorney general’s Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency in the business of busting pot smokers and dealers.
Marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol. Research is showing that where marijuana is legalized, the use of alcohol and prescription drugs has gone down. Early reports are showing a reduction in crime in communities with legal weed. Even setting aside the tax revenue, providing a safe, regulated legal product on the market, with the opportunity to educate people about marijuana is worth it.
I urge Congress take up this issue of marijuana prohibition.
Congress must take action to remove the federal government’s ability to pursue marijuana criminal cases.
Congress must act by putting the power to regulate marijuana where it belongs, at the state level.