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Jeff Sessions opens debates on legalization of marijuana by revoking Cole Memo

An estimated 65 million Americans, which is about one-fifth of the country’s population, live in the states with some form of legalization of marijuana. In Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana is legalized, the market has generated revenue worth $617 million and $831 million, respectively. Such states use the revenue from marijuana sales to fund schools, affordable housing, law enforcement and public education campaigns.

The legalization of marijuana has now led to a reimagining of the American drug policy, including low punishment rate for the selling and purchasing of marijuana. One of the precedents responsible for bringing forth this change was the Cole memo issued by the Barack Obama administration, which appealed to the federal prosecutors to stop using limited resources to punish people and businesses complying with the state marijuana laws. However, the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has revoked the above provision. This has surged a searing debate between both critics and sceptics.

Debates between supporters and critics

In the wake of the above action, supporters, such as the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance, see the legalization of marijuana as the only way to cut off a major source of revenue for criminal organizations and end the arrests of nonviolent marijuana users and sellers. On the contrary, Sessions and some law enforcement officials in states like Colorado blame legalization for a number of problems, including proliferation of drug traffickers taking advantage of lax marijuana laws. The decision was a win-win situation for the pot opponents who had been urging Sessions to take action.

Sessions’ move decreased the stock valuations of the marijuana industry that had become a multibillion-dollar industry in mere five years, with markets opening from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine. Sessions declared, “It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission.”

Anti-pot group issues sneering report card on marijuana legalization

The Marijuana Accountability Coalition (MAC) and Smarter Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) released a report that marks Colorado’s marijuana industry on eight factors, including youth-use prevention, black market sales and stoned driving. It received an “F” grade on all eight parameters.

The report card, presented with the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, also dishes out failing marks for crime, hospital visits and minority arrests related to pot, as well as out-of-state diversion and illegal pot cultivations on public land. Some of the common findings of the new MAC report are as follows:

  • A 65 percent increase from 2014 to 2016 in the first-time cannabis use among youth.
  • The number of cannabis arrests for African-American and Hispanic youth has increased since legalization.
  • The annual rate of cannabis-related emergency room (ER) visits increased 35 percent between 2011 and 2015.
  • A total 7,116 pounds of marijuana were confiscated.
  • Around 252 felony arrests and 346 highway interceptions of marijuana headed to 36 different states were made.
  • A 54 percent increase was seen in citations for public cannabis consumption since legalization.

Following Sessions’ decision to rescind Cole memo protecting legal marijuana businesses, legislators in many states have introduced a bill that would prohibit the state and local police from participating in federal cases against people or licensed operators who follow the state marijuana laws.

Recovery is possible

An effective recovery program is the cornerstone of the treatment for marijuana addiction. Although there are no specific medicines to treat this problem, a combination of detoxification, psychotherapy, medications and other experiential therapies offer long-lasting solutions. One need to have faith in himself or herself to successfully complete a recovery program and lead a normal life devoid of drugs.

you or someone you know is addicted to opioids or any other form of drugs, the Colorado Detox Helpline can assist you in connecting with one of the best detox treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 or chat online with our experts to know about the most comprehensive treatments in Colorado.

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