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Sessions Goes After Medical Marijuana Producers

Sessions Goes After Medical Marijuana Producers

Medical Marijuana Is A $100 Million-A-Year Business In New Mexico

Medical marijuana producers in New Mexico and other states could face federal prosecution if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gets his way.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Sessions wants to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014.

The newspaper said that in a letter to Congress that was made public Monday, Sessions asked lawmakers to undo the protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Those protections prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The Post quoted Sessions’ letter as saying:

“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. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

The paper also suggested that it is unlikely that Sessions would get his wish because there is strong bipartisan support in Congress for medical marijuana. The paper also said that medical marijuana is incredibly popular with the public. It cited an April Quinnipiac poll that found that medical marijuana was supported by 94 percent of the public.

“Nearly three-quarters of voters said they disapprove of the government enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it either medically or recreationally,” the Post’s story said.

Medical marijuana is now a $100 million-a-year business in New Mexico, and growing. The state has 56 dispensaries and more than 40,000 users.

The number of medical marijuana users in the state has increased by 84 percent since March 2016.

And first-quarter sales this year topped $19 million, a 91 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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