Jeff Sessions Wants Legal Cannabis Businesses To Face The Death Penalty
Jeff Sessions is making headlines again this week, most recently due to his release of a memo urging federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for "dealing in extremely large quantities of drugs." Legal Cannabis businesses are alarmed at what Sessions' memo could mean for the cannabis community.
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Executive Director of the Southern California Coalition, a cannabis business trade group, Adam Spiker, said, "To not acknowledge the difference between a regulated cannabis business and a heroin kingpin is unfathomable." Unfortunately, Spiker makes a valid point.
The policy shift is reportedly designed to make good on President Trump's promise to execute narcotics traffickers, in the face of the worsening opioid epidemic. As such, prominent cannabis businesses are worried that they could fall under the new guidelines.
Sessions' new guidelines for capital punishment include 60,000 kilograms of marijuana product or $20 million in gross receipts in a year.
On Thursday, Sessions announced a "surge" of 250 Drug Enforcement Administration officers and "dozens more" analysts.
Experts have noted that applying the death penalty to marijuana would be close to legally impossible, but cannabis businesses are worried that Jeff Sessions has even attempted to guide legislation down such a path.
"Mr. Sessions' threat has the potential to destroy not only the state-legal cannabis industry but more importantly, the lives of ordinary, law-abiding people," said Michael S. Hiller, a New York-based attorney.
Sessions' continued attack on marijuana comes as no surprise. Earlier this year, the Attorney General announced he would be rescinding the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy that prohibited federal law enforcement from interfering in legal marijuana matters in states where it has been legalized. Concern has been high since then, with legal cannabis businesses worrying that they could be subject to federal law enforcement at any time.
This most recent development has intensified that concern, as legal pot growers and retailers could now be subject to the death penalty, regardless of the fact that they are abiding by the law in their state.
It remains unclear the impact these guidelines will have on the cannabis community, however, what is clear is that Sessions is waging his own war on drugs.