Last week Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge rejected a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas.
The proposal would have let adults and companies grow, buy sell, and use marijuana for any reason.
The A.G.’s office rejected the measure, citing “fundamental deficiencies in the proposed measure’s text and ballot title.”
Attorney General Rutledge rejected more than a dozen similar measures last year.
As we have said before, marijuana’s proponents aren’t content with “medical marijuana.” The endgame is — and always has been — full legalization.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 4, 2018
On Thursday U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo directing prosecutors to enforce federal laws against marijuana. The memo rescinded the Obama Administration’s policies that generally prevented enforcement in states where medical or recreational marijuana had been legalized.
Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “We are pleased with the federal Justice Department’s decision to enforce our nation’s anti-drug laws. For too long, federal officials have turned a blind eye to so-called ‘medical’ and recreational marijuana in the U.S. That needs to change.”
Cox said he hopes federal prosecutors will help keep marijuana out of Arkansas. “Arkansas’ marijuana amendment gives a handful of businesses a monopoly on marijuana, and it lets practically anyone qualify to use marijuana if they want to. Marijuana is a blight on the community. Arkansas already has a bad enough drug problem as it is. We don’t need stores out here selling marijuana on Main Street. I hope today’s decision will help keep marijuana out of our communities.”
Cox said the memo from the U.S. Attorney General should not come as a surprise to anyone. “Federal law is perfectly clear when it says marijuana is illegal. There is no question about that. Even Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment admits that marijuana is illegal under federal law. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the federal government would want to enforce its own laws. If people want to legalize marijuana, then they ought to take that up with Congress.”
In recent years several states — including Arkansas — have moved to legalize marijuana for one reason or another. However, in spite of these state laws, marijuana is still 100% illegal to grow, buy, sell, or use under federal law.
The Obama Administration opted several years ago not to prosecute people growing or using marijuana in compliance with state laws. As a result, states have been able to legalize “medical” and recreational marijuana with few repercussions, and marijuana businesses and users have not faced prosecution.
However, that may be about to change.
According to news reports, the federal Department of Justice is set to let prosecutors decide how aggressively to prosecute marijuana in states like California, Colorado, Arkansas, and elsewhere.
That means medical marijuana farms, stores, and users in Arkansas could face criminal prosecution, if our U.S. Attorneys decide to enforce the nation’s marijuana laws.
Family Council predicted this possibility back in 2012:
If and when [Obama Administration] Attorney General Eric Holder is succeeded by someone else, that Attorney General could direct the U.S. Attorneys to prosecute any and every person using marijuana, regardless of their circumstances. Why? Because under federal law it is blatantly illegal to grow, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana for any reason. Period.
This is not something federal law is ambiguous or silent about. Congress has spelled out in black and white that marijuana is 100% illegal.
If people want to legalize marijuana, then they should take that up with Congress, and they should not be surprised to hear federal prosecutors might actually start following and enforcing federal law. It really is as simple as that.