Target: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
Goal: Ensure state marijuana legalization laws are not overridden by the Federal Government.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that the Justice Department will more aggressively enforce federal law in states which have legalized marijuana for recreational use. This comes at a time when legalization efforts have enjoyed significant momentum, with four states voting to legalize recreational pot in 2016 alone, bringing the total to eight states in addition to Washington D.C. Gallup polling over the past 30 years further demonstrates growing support for legalization, with the percentage of those in favor moving from just 25 percent in 1970 to 58 percent in 2015.
States which legalized recreational use of marijuana have already enjoyed several positive outcomes. A primary driver of most legalization campaigns was the promise of substantial tax revenues from the sale of marijuana in state-licensed dispensaries. Data available from the first few years of full legalization in two states validates that claim, with over $70 million generated in Colorado in 2015 alone and projected 2017 revenues of $272 million in Washington. These states have also seen a significant reduction in marijuana-related arrests and incarcerations, bringing millions more in associated cost savings, as low-level drug offenders are no longer processed through the legal system.
The promise of a hardline approach to marijuana enforcement by the Justice Department stands in direct conflict with the position of President Trump. In several interviews given during his presidential campaign, Trump stated “I think it’s up to the states, absolutely” when asked whether the federal government should overrule state marijuana legalization laws. If a federal crackdown were to occur, it would disrupt an industry which is projected to employ over 250,000 by the year 2020 and transition distribution back to the black market. This would also reinforce a hypocritical policy position from a public health perspective. The Drug Enforcement Agency acknowledges that no deaths have been attributed to marijuana use, yet alcohol and tobacco are both legal under federal law, and combined kill 515,000 people each year.
We cannot allow the Justice Department to impose outdated and ineffective federal drug laws. Please sign the below petition calling on Attorney General Sessions to respect the will of voters in states which have passed marijuana legalization initiatives.
Dear Attorney General Sessions,
I am writing to demand that you not direct the Justice Department to overrule state recreational marijuana laws. These efforts would disrupt an industry which is projected to employ over 250,000 people, remove millions in tax revenues and transition marijuana distribution back to the black market.
You are clearly on an island with respect to marijuana policy, as a consistent majority of Americans are in favor of legalization. President Trump himself has expressed support for a states’ rights approach to marijuana policy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore