This morning's news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Justice Department's longstanding policy of accepting state medical marijuana and recreational marijuana laws directly threatens patients and health care providers in 29 states, and a developing business model in several states. This reactionary, drug-war thinking is way out of step with public opinion and contrary to good public health and public safety policy. Sessions is attempting to undo progress made through years of bi-partisan advocacy by parents of children with the most severe diseases, veterans, cancer patients, and others who have fought for alternatives to far worse, highly addictive opioid treatments. Sessions's idea of respecting states' rights is very selective.
For years, the Justice Department, in a document known as the Cole Memorandum, has effectively accepted state laws providing for medical and recreational use of marijuana, as long as they are well regulated and guard against abuse, despite the federal prohibition of marijuana. The Cole Memorandum is a sensible, practical policy that has worked well. In addition, Congress has passed legislation protecting these state laws.
"Congress should pass legislation allowing medical and recreational use programs. Governors and state legislators should speak up on behalf of their constituents who benefit from these State-level programs today."