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High Tensions Over Legal Marijuana

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Columbus Police Academy Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete/AP)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Columbus Police Academy Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete/AP)

Reefer madness. Pot’s legal in 29 states but not at the Federal level and Jeff Sessions does not like marijuana. Where does this go?

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have now legalized medical marijuana. Eight states have straight up legalized recreational marijuana. But the now attorney general of the United States, Jeff Sessions, does not like marijuana. Fiercely dislikes the use of marijuana. And there’s plenty of federal law at his side. The Obama administration demanded strict regulation, but let states go their way. This hour On Point: What will Jeff Session do with legal pot? — Tom Ashbrook


Mark Joseph Stern, writer for Slate, covering law and LGBTQ issues. (@mjs_DC)

Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Director of the Drug Policy Institute and assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine. (@KevinSabet)

W. David Bradford, professor of public policy at the University of Georgia, focusing on substance use.

Bob Ferguson, attorney general in Washington state, one of the first two states (along with Colorado) to pass laws taxing and regulating marijuana, making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. (@AGOWA)

From Tom’s Reading List

Slate: Sessions’ Marijuana Crackdown May Still Be Coming — “When Attorney General Jeff Sessions convened his Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in February, it was widely assumed to be the first step toward a crackdown on the state-level legalization of marijuana. Sessions stacked the task force with federal prosecutors and law enforcement officers, who were expected to endorse an assault on the cannabis industry in states that have signed off on recreational marijuana use. But on Friday, the AP got ahold of the task force’s recommendations and revealed that they weren’t draconian at all. Rather, the group suggested maintaining the current compromise between states and the feds that has allowed marijuana reform to flourish.”

Washington Post: Why Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis — “Attorney General Jeff Sessions will soon receive a report he has been waiting for. The document, from the President’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, is expected to clarify the federal government’s position on marijuana — and the conflicts that exist between state and federal laws. It clear what Sessions wants to do: Over the past month, he has asked Congress for permission to prosecute medical cannabis suppliers who are acting in accordance with their state’s laws, reauthorized civil asset forfeiture (a highly controversial practice used in drug cases), and announced his desire to start a new ‘war on drugs.'”

Boston Globe: Pot is legal in Vegas — but tourists have nowhere to smoke — “In this desert oasis, visitors meander down the Strip, gulping booze from novelty jugs. Hucksters press escort ads into the hands of passersby. You can bet on the Raiders or roulette. But when it comes to marijuana, it turns out Sin City is something of a scold. Retail pot sales have been legal since July 1, but there’s just about nowhere for tourists to consume it without breaking the rules.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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