Colorado Risking Hundreds of Millions to Protect State Cannabis Industry

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The Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) industry has been on edge since the inauguration of President Trump. First, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) closed up some questions regarding CBD’s place on the controlled substances list, and next came news that the Trump Administration would crack down on legalized, recreational Marijuana.

Jeff Sessions, current Attorney General, is not a fan of Cannabis. Sessions has spoken at length about his feelings about the substance. Trump, on the other hand, says that Medical Marijuana laws would not be at risk.

The issue centers around the fact that Cannabis remains federally illegal and while states can pass laws for legalized recreational consumption, the federal government still reserves the right to enforce federal law. States with legal recreation Marijuana have promised to fight potentially prosecution.

Colorado, one of highest profile legalized state, has a vested interest in continuing to reap the benefits of generated tax revenue. Colorado’s state legislature is getting creative in their efforts to protect the Marijuana industry.

An introduced bill would reclassify recreational Marijuana as Medical Marijuana based on a business need in a changing law and enforcement environment. It would keep these businesses afloat if the federal government cracks down, protecting hundreds of millions in tax revenue. Instead of potentially having products seized, business owners would convert stock to the medical side.

The bill passed in the Colorado state Senate with a 4-1 vote. Now, more than 500 licensed recreational Marijuana growers can reclassify their products by way of an instant medical license.

Protecting the industry is integral for a number of states looking to combat prescription addictions and rising health care costs in addition to the natural effects of Cannabis as a treatment. Colorado has over 827,000 plants grown for retail dispensaries. Additionally, Cannabis has created 25,000 jobs according to the Marijuana Policy Group.

Fundamentally, this is a state’s rights debate. Under Obama, states could determine their Marijuana laws without fear of prosecution through the Cole memo. The Cole memo prohibits the DOJ from using resources to prosecute companies operating in states with recreational Cannabis. Sessions is not a fan of state’s rights and has promised to enforce federal laws, even at the expense of jobs; tax revenue; and so forth. Many states mentioned within the article from Yahoo worry about the money drying up, as they now annually anticipate it.

Other states are looking into their options in the meantime. California is considering a proposal that would bar local and state law enforcement from cooperating or investigating with federal authorities within legalized jurisdictions.

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