How AG Sessions’ Marijuana Reversal Will Affect Michigan

Could the decision actually push Congress closer to legalizing marijuana?

Jake Neher/WDET

Late last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed an Obama-era rule that instructed federal drug authorities not to pursue cases that involved marijuana.

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in a handful of states — including Colorado, Alaska, and California. And, of course, medical marijuana is legal here in Michigan. The question of legalizing marijuana could also be on the ballot this fall in Michigan.

Jeff Sessions’ decision does a few significant things. First, it makes good on his long-standing crusade against legal marijuana.

Second, it throws into question the future of legal action against marijuana users, caregivers, and distributors.

Finally, it perhaps opens a window for lawmakers of all stripes to unite behind legalization of marijuana on a broad scale.  

Matthew Abel is a Detroit-area marijuana advocate, attorney, and the executive director of the Michigan chapter of NORML, which advocates for the liberalization of cannabis laws. He joins Detroit Today to talk about the effect of Sessions’ decision here in Michigan.

“On first glance, it certainly was not welcome in the (Michigan pro-cannabis) community,” says Abel. “But in the days that have followed, it seems that the backlash is such that, perhaps, it’s what we needed to move this issue forward. We need to pressure Congress to change the law.”

Also joining the program is Detroit News Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley, who wrote a column this week in response to Sessions’ decision titled, “Sessions is no conservative.”

“I feel like federal law should never have trumped state law in terms of drug use, drug sales, drug production within the state,” says Finley. “To have the federal government telling the states you don’t have a right now to pass medical marijuana legalization or even recreational marijuana legalization I think is an affront to federalism and an affront to the Tenth Amendment.”

“And I think folks who suspend their belief in federalism when it’s convenient, when it meets their own moral values, their own personal objectives, can’t legitimately call themselves conservatives,” Finley continues. “There’s a principle here.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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