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ROSEN URGES SESSIONS TO REVERSE COURSE ON MISGUIDED DECISION REGARDING MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

January 9, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. --Today, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) sent a letter urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision ending an Obama-era policy that effectively allowed states to legalize and regulate marijuana.

“I write to strongly urge you to reverse your decision to fundamentally change the nation’s marijuana enforcement policy," wrote Rosen. “In order to prevent legal uncertainty, maintain our vibrant economy, and continue to allow our constituents legal access to safe, effective medical cannabis products, we implore you to reinstate past DOJ policy immediately. To do otherwise would be an affront to states’ rights, a threat to small businesses, and an insult to Nevada voters.”

BACKGROUND:  Congresswoman Rosen supports the right of states to make their own decisions about marijuana regulatory laws. Rosen is a co-sponsor of H.R. 975, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. This legislation would have the effect of ending federal marijuana prosecution for cannabis businesses operating legally in Nevada.

Last year, Rosen joined a bipartisan letter urging the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee to include language in their 2018 appropriations bill that would bar the Justice Department from prosecuting people who comply with their state’s medical marijuana laws. Rosen also co-sponsored a separate bipartisan amendment to prohibit federal funds from being used to penalize financial institutions that serve legal marijuana businesses.

Read text of the letter here or below:

LETTER TEXT

January 4, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

I write to strongly urge you to reverse your decision to fundamentally change the nation’s marijuana enforcement policy. The Department of Justice’s January 4, 2018 guidance rescinding the Cole Memorandum completely disregards the steps Nevada has taken to regulate both medical and recreational marijuana. The new guidance creates great legal uncertainty for businesses and patients across our state who are following the law. I urge you to reconsider this decision and reinstate the guidance set forth in the 2013 Cole Memorandum, which respects each states’ right to set its own marijuana policy.

As a Member of Congress from Nevada, whose residents amended the Nevada Constitution almost two decades ago to allow for the use of medical marijuana and voted overwhelmingly just last year to make recreational cannabis legal, my constituents are particularly at risk from this misguided shift in policy. The State of Nevada has put in place strict regulations to prevent diversion of marijuana outside the regulated system and to other states, prohibit access to marijuana by minors, and replace an illicit marijuana trade that funds criminal enterprises with a tightly regulated market in which revenues are tracked and accounted for. Changes to Nevada’s marijuana laws over the past few years have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in new funding for Nevada schools, the creation of over 6,000 new, well-paid jobs, and numerous medical benefits for Nevadans suffering from PTSD, cancer, and other illnesses, including countless veterans. It is ironic that you made this decision shortly after your colleagues at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the VA would finally allow its doctors to discuss medical cannabis with their veteran patients due to its clinical relevance to patient care. Now is not the time to take a major step backward in federal marijuana policy.

In order to prevent legal uncertainty, maintain Nevada’s vibrant economy, and continue to allow our constituents legal access to safe, effective medical cannabis products, I implore you to reinstate past DOJ policy, as outlined in the Cole Memorandum, immediately. To do otherwise would be an affront to states’ rights, a threat to small businesses, and an insult to Nevada voters.

I look forward to your response and prompt action.

Sincerely,

 

Jacky Rosen

Member of Congress

 

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