At the start of January — just days after the adult use of cannabis became legal in California — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the Obama-era guidelines that kept federal agents from interfering in states where medial marijuana was legal. Cannabis stocks declined 21 percent, though they quickly rebounded.
Sessions wants Congress to beef up funding to eradicate marijuana. He also wants his task force to show that there are clear links between cannabis use and opioid addiction, though the evidence suggests that cannabis helps addicts withdraw from opioids.
All this news came as no shock to Sonoma County marijuana farmers. Still, many of them expressed outrage that a man thousands of miles away could impact their lives and livelihoods.
Indeed, Sessions’ intervention looked like the long arm of the law. The AG seems to be out of touch when he makes statements such as “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” and pot is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. He also once joked that he thought Ku Klux Klan members were “okay until I found out they smoked pot.”
A clash now seems inevitable between California — the major producer of cannabis in the U.S. — and Washington, D.C. though no one predicts an early showdown.
Sessions has not given the U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice a timetable to target marijuana. Rather, he has left it up to each one to decide if and when they want to pick a fight.
Former DEA agent, Patrick Moen, now a lawyer for the marijuana industry, put a positive spin on Sessions’ get-tough stance. “There will probably be a short term chilling effect, but this could ultimately be the best thing that’s ever happened to accelerate the pace of change,” he said.
Sarah Shrader, 36,