Even though many states have already legalized marijuana not only for medical use, but also for recreational use, Attorney General Jess Sessions has recently decided to rescind the protections in place for the legalized cannabis industry that were implemented by President Obama. Naturally, this has caused many who are in the industry to worry and question what might happen next.
The Questions Remain
There have been many questions about just what this decision of Sessions’ could mean for the recreational and medical use of marijuana. The cost of having federal prosecutors going after marijuana businesses running legally would be enormous, not to mention the logistic stress of putting more of their personnel on these cases. One of the biggest questions is whether the law enforcement officials in states where marijuana is legal would cooperate with the federal authorities.
Fortunately, most of the government officials, including many governors of states where marijuana is legal, have denounced the actions of Jeff Sessions, and most of the legal experts agree that before any rash decisions, those in the business should wait, but keep a close eye on the situation to determine what is going to happen. It is still unknown whether the U.S. Justice Department will start to target the states, and how the states will respond. It makes the most sense to continue to follow the states’ current laws regarding marijuana laws.
It’s still very early, and we don’t know exactly what could happen with marijuana laws. Although the current White House administration often talks about the importance of state’s rights, with this latest decision, it seems as if they pick and choose which of the states’ rights they allow.
What Is the Worst that Could Happen?
How would the feds handle marijuana businesses? It is unclear, but one of the likely first courses of action would be to send out letters to companies engaging in the business, telling them that their business is illegal and informing them that if they do not cease their actions, the feds will take further actions against them.
If they do decide to pursue legal action against these companies, they could choose to follow through with criminal prosecution of these companies, or they could take civil action against them. One of the potential actions of a civil suit could be forfeiture of the business.
According to Marijuana Business Daily, the CEO of Altitude Products, Krista Whitely said that if the federal government decided to interfere with the rights of the state to collect the taxes from marijuana sales, it was likely that the states would sue the federal government.
While there is no true indication of just what is going to happen in this field, it is best not to panic. Follow the current rules and trust in the states to fight back and do the right thing for these businesses. Businesses should stay up to date on the situation and only make decisions when they have facts about what is happening.