Blog Voices from the Frontlines
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a memorandum analyzing the Justice Department’s Decision to rescind Obama-era guidance on federal cannabis policy including the Cole Memo, the Ogden Memos, the Wilkinson memo on cannabis on tribal lands and the FinCen guidance which created policies for financial institutions interacting with cannabis businesses. CRS is a non-partisan office in the Library of Congress that provides legislative advice and analysis to both parties in a neutral way.
In the January 2018 Issue
- DOJ Memo on Prosecutions Rescinded; Temporary Protections Remain
- ASA Launches Campaign on Cannabis as a Tool in Opioid Crisis
- Veterans Administration Loosens Cannabis Policy
- WHO Initial Report Says CBD Needs No Restrictions
- DEA Yields to Pressure, Removes Misinformation on Cannabis
- ASA National Unity Conference a Success
- ASA’s Annual Report on State Medical Cannabis Programs Finds Improvements
- State & International Developments
- ASA’s Training Programs Going Global
- ACTION ALERT: Send Congress Your Story Today!
By Beryl Lieff Benderly for Science Magazine
Growing up with a close relative who used marijuana before legalization to alleviate symptoms of a medical condition inspired [Dr. Jahan] Marcu’s fascination with the plant’s relationship to the human body. Having researched cannabinoids’ anticancer activity as a technician and the structure, function, and signaling of cannabinoid receptors, especially in bone, for his Ph.D. dissertation, he now focuses on developing and implementing recognized, science-based standards to assure that the medicine sold is safe, pure, and what it purports to be.
By Libby Denkmann for 89.3 KPCC
“As long as there’s a federal conflict with state laws, any patient has significant reason to be worried,” said David Mangone, legislative counsel for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. He added, while the danger of criminal prosecution is low, “any recreational user who receives federal benefits, they do run the risk of being subject to federal prosecution even if they are complying with state law.”
Medical cannabis community must join together and resist any action taken against us - Americans for Safe Access
By Steph Sherer for The Hill
Yesterday, I awoke to the news that I have been fearing since Jeff Session was nominated as Attorney General, his Department of Justice is rescinding the non-interference cannabis policies from the Obama Administration, the 2013 Cole Memorandum. As I was trying to respond to the flood of texts and emails, I had to fight off flashbacks from events that plagued the first 13 years of my work at Americans for Safe Access.
Between 1996 and 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted 528 paramilitary-style raids (270 occurring during the Obama administration), filed civil asset forfeiture actions against property owners, and used bullying tactics to dissuade state elected officials from adopting or implementing medical cannabis laws. For each of these actions, dozens of lives were ruined and thousands of patients lost their access to medical cannabis. This was at a time when only twelve states had medical cannabis access programs.
By Jen Christensen for CNN
By Kyle Midura for KTUU 2
Advocates for medical marijuana patients and providers - like Steph Sherer with Americans for Safe Access - describe the protection as "a ceasefire." She said she hopes Sessions' move leads Congress to permanently offer the medical marijuana community protection, rather than renewing it every year.
By Kellie Meyer for GrayDC
“Many providers of cannabis products grow for both medical and recreational so it would be very difficult to for the DOJ to crack down without affecting patients," - Beth Collins
Trump administration targets recreational pot, placing thousands of marijuana businesses in California at risk - Americans for Safe Access
By Evan Halper, Joseph Tanfani and Patrick McGreevy for the Los Angeles Times
Sarah Armstrong, director of industry affairs for Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research, said the Justice Department announcement was “really very upsetting and scary for patients who don't know, when they walk in the door, if there's going to be a raid.”
Even a crackdown solely on recreational marijuana could jeopardize medical users, Armstrong said, because many dispensaries will be serving both patients and other customers.
Sessions’ Actions Against Cole Memo Triggers Call to Action from Medical Cannabis Advocates - Americans for Safe Access
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday January 4, 2018
Still Protected by the CJS Amendment, Patients Prepare for A Return to Pre-Cole World
Washington D.C. — As first reported by the Associated Press, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning on rescinding the 2013 memo created by then Deputy Attorney General James Cole. The Cole Memorandum highlighted eight priorities when it came to the federal enforcement of medical and recreational cannabis laws including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors and preventing diversion.
A recission of the Cole Memorandum, which deprioritized prosecution of marijuana-related cases allows U.S. Attorneys to use discretion in the cases they prosecute. Sessions, an ardent critic of all forms of marijuana has repeatedly called on Congress to not extend the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Budget Amendment that provides protections to medical cannabis providers and individuals complying with state law by blocking Department of Justice funds.
“The Attorney General’s decision to rescind the Cole Memo shows his true intentions on cannabis ” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access.“While the Cole Memo was not perfect, it created a workable framework for states to regulate cannabis. States work within the Cole Memo, not against it. However, it is important to remember that this memo is not what provides protection to patients and providers. They are protected by the CJS Medical Marijuana amendment and it is more important than ever for Congress to renew these protections in the FY2018 Budget.”