Choosing Fertilizer for your Marijuana Plants
The Fundamental Right to Use Cannabis
The legal cannabis industry’s reaction to President-elect Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General has been mixed. While some believe that Trump will balk at the loss of jobs, departure from traditional conservative notions of federalism, and expenditure of political capital a Sessions-led crackdown on cannabis would presumably bring, others are preparing for the worst. This article explores one possible argument whose time has, perhaps, finally come – that the time is ripe for the courts to acknowledge the existence of a fundamental right to use cannabis.
As of 2017, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under federal law – grouped together with heroin and LSD – with “no accepted medical use.” Nevertheless, the legal cannabis industry has flourished, despite the threat of federal prosecution, because of two important legal protections. The most historically important of these is the Cole Memorandum of 2013, which set the enforcement priorities of the Department of Justice with respect to “legal states”; in a nutshell, the Cole Memo states that so long as the states have “implement[ed]strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems,” and are not impeding the DOJ’s eight listed enforcement priorities (e.g., preventing cannabis from being provided to minors, interstate shipment of cannabis, enriching drug cartels, etc), enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act against state-legal cannabis businesses and users will be the DOJ’s “lowest priority.” The other important protection is the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment, a budgetary provision that prevents the DOJ from spending any federal dollars on pursuing businesses or individuals who operate in unambiguous compliance with their states’ medical cannabis laws.
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