Big Victory for Patients in Senate - But What's Next?

Jeffrey beauregard sessions iii

Jeffrey beauregard sessions iii

The Senate Appropriations Committee struck a blow yesterday for medical cannabis patients and those who serve them when they voted to extend the Rohrbacher-Farr amendment. The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, forbids the Department of Justice and their "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions from spending resources to prosecute MMJ providers operating under color of state law. Sessions, who lobbied both publicly and privately for authority to do so, is not having a good week.

The amendment must still be included in the final appropriations bill, but there seems to be enough support in Congress to insure that.

Make no mistake, this is a huge victory for the forces of good. But there is another shoe that is likely to drop this week when the DOJ's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety puts their recommendations on Sessions' desk.

The Task Force's areas of focus, according to Sessions, are methods by which “the federal government can more effectively combat illegal immigration and violent crime, such as gun crime, drug trafficking, and gang violence."

But Sessions went on to write that “Task Force subcommittees” will also review current federal policies “in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department's overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities.”

Marijuana's inclusion in the three areas of federal policy review can't be seen a promising sign, under an AG who has a long and batshit crazy history of linking cannabis itself (not cannabis prohibition) to crime and violence, and calling for federal enforcement of prohibition regardless of state law.

We should also note here that while Sessions appears to be in the President's cross hairs over his recusal decision, he has steadfastly remained in his post, talking about the importance of his policy work to the nation. Signals from the Senate GOP to the White House on the consequences should he be fired give him strong backing, (and this is unlikely to change based on whether or not he goes after legal cannabis) and the fact that Sessions no longer has to worry about keeping Trump happy may well embolden him to say damn the politics, and damn the public support, and to do what he's always wanted to do, which is to take on cannabis legalization directly.