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President-Elect Donald Trump announced today that he has nominated Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next US Attorney General. If approved by the Senate, Sessions would wield broad authority over federal drug law priorities and enforcement nationwide. What does that mean for medical cannabis in the US?
It could be really bad news... if we don’t fight back!
Senator Sessions is a fierce opponent of cannabis. In April, he told a Senate committee that “good people don't smoke marijuana." This is who will soon decide how the US Department of Justice will deal with the more than 300 million Americans living in the 44 states with some sort of medical cannabis law.
We have made historic progress on medical cannabis, but an unopposed AG Sessions could take us back to the dark days of federal raids, prosecutions and asset forfeiture. We need to double our efforts now to stop a federal roll-back on medical cannabis.
Now is the time to be strategic, articulate and effective. We must mobilize our base and allies in focused pro-active campaigns now or we could spend the next 4 years under policies that make patients criminals again! Federal tolerance of cannabis and medical cannabis in the states is based on a DOJ policy and an appropriations amendment that must be renewed every year – not permanent federal law. With the amendment at risk and the ability to change the policy with a stroke of a pen, Sessions could relaunch the broad federal war on patients. We cannot let that happen.
For almost 15 years, medical cannabis patients and allies have depended on Americans for Safe Access (ASA) to bring the voice of patients to state legislators and regulators and on Capitol Hill through thoughtful, strategic campaigns that expanded rights of patients nation-wide. ASA will not stand by and let Sessions take us back to the policies of the former Bush Administration – or worse. But we cannot do it without your help!