Congress should keep Department of Justice out of states’ marijuana rules – Orange County Register

Donald Trump was not elected president to renew crackdowns on marijuana in states that have legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Last week, it was revealed that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a private letter to congressional leaders dated May 1 asking them to lift the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from meddling with state medical marijuana laws.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote, citing no evidence linking medical marijuana to the “historic drug epidemic” or violent crime increases.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, first enacted in 2014, is an important barrier to unnecessary federal intrusion in states which have considered and enacted laws permitting, by varying degrees, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

While marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Congress should retain the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to protect the right of states to make their own choices.

The majority of states, and the District of Columbia, now have laws on the books permitting marijuana for medicinal purposes. As an April Quinnipiac poll found, 73 percent of Americans oppose federal intervention in states which have legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. For the Trump administration to intervene now would not only contradict campaign statements by Trump himself favoring states’ rights on marijuana policy, but also needlessly flout the wishes of most Americans.

But clearly a legislative solution is needed beyond simply restricting the ability of the Justice Department to enforce laws against medical marijuana.

One such proposal was reintroduced last week by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Rand…

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