The United States Government has a long history of breaking promises and once again it appears poised to break a promise to the people. If you really doubt this and think your government could never break a promise, simply look to Native Americans and ask them how they feel about promises made and broken. It will not take a long walk through history before you clearly see that nothing promised is guaranteed by the government. 29 states and the District of Columbia will soon be in the target sights of U.S. attorneys. The target this time will be medical marijuana and the failure to act that goes to the halls of Congress.
While the medical marijuana business has boomed in the last few years, it has not done so without the knowledge that according to federal law it is still illegal. During President Obama’s terms, there was a strict “hands-off” policy in place. In fact, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment made it temporarily impossible for the Justice Department to spend a dime on the prosecution of medical marijuana distributors and users where state laws protected them. Now, this ban is about to expire and no new federal laws have been put in place by Congress to extend the ban, or to make it permanent. Without the protections of the ban or new laws protecting medical marijuana on a federal level, the Justice Department could start implementing raids, arrest, and prosecutions in all 29 states and the District of Columbia once again.
Unfortunately for those in need of medical marijuana, those experimenting in labs with potential cancer cures, and even those prescribing it under state laws, Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Attorney General, has openly indicated that he will not leave medical marijuana alone. The decision has prompted stock sell-offs, shook up medical providers and even has Congress tweeting and discussing it, which appears to be all they seem willing to do these days. Within the last fifteen hours or so, there have been several news stories covering the issue that now seems to be driving a “panic” in the states, for distributors, and for the medical community.
Regardless of who is in charge in the federal government, this is simply another example of broken promises by the United States Government to the people. In this case, over half the states in the country and the District of Columbia have taken the federal government at its word to not interfere with medical marijuana. While it is sad to allow one office or man to break the promise of non-interference made by the government, it is perhaps more telling that a Congress – fully aware of the limitations placed on the restrictions – would allow the limitations to expire without taking action.
Congressional representatives from 29 states, including Arkansas, have had plenty of time to hammer out laws and regulations that would have protected their home states and the people they represent from the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions may be the instrument of attack in the broken promises to the American people, but the real failure sits squarely on the shoulders of Congressional representatives who squandered away the time given to them to make meaningful and lasting laws which would have allowed the states to continue with medical marijuana. While we have yet to see exactly how Sessions will act, one thing is certain and that is that people will suffer due to a broken promise again on all levels from those in need to those providing the medical needs. In our area, Texarkana stands to lose a substantial economic boom that could have helped hundreds of people from all around the four states. Congress should be ashamed and more importantly, they should answer the burning question-why did they not act to protect their home state’s interest before now?