During a recent interview with NBC news, Attorney General Loretta Lynch avoids the question about rescheduling marijuana. In an attempt to explain her position, she dodged the question about rescheduling and redirected it towards unrelated federal drug policy matters.
Lynch says that the issue of cannabis should be left to the states. She says that states should “listen to their citizens and then take action”. Although Lynch maintains that she does not support the legalization of marijuana, she maintains Holder’s position on respecting the state marijuana laws. She continues, unfortunately, to dodge NBC’s reporter, Chuck Todd’s, questioning on the matter of rescheduling marijuana.
It’s apparent the inconsistency between state attitude and federal attitude, with states wanting marijuana to be a part of the economy and federal government refusing to adjust the scheduling.
Lynch says that while the role of the sate is to mitigate violence that might be associated with their marijuana industry, the role of the federal government is to continue to combat drug trafficking. Maintaining a protocol to keep children away from marijuana products is also the state’s responsibility. She says there are still parts of the marijuana industry in legal states being operated illegally, and it is the federal government’s job to tackle the illegal trafficking of marijuana.
When Todd asked her if that could include an increase of federal enforcement in legal states, Lynch again dodged the question.
There is clearly a still a disparity between the state government and the federal government’s attitudes towards marijuana legalization. Earlier this year Steve Cohen called on Eric Holder (the previous attorney general) to reschedule marijuana. Having marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug puts it in the category of substances that do not even carry medicinal properties. Not even cocaine or methamphetamine exist in this category. The inconsistency between state laws and federal laws are still an ongoing battle for the marijuana industry because of the disharmony created by the disagreement.
The refusal of the US government to reschedule marijuana is confusing for all those who want to be invested in the marijuana industry. It means that federal assistance on the real issues (such as violence and children’s safety) will probably be limited. In truth, it probably means that the efforts invested by federal bodies will be completely unsupportive of the state initiative.
It is probably fair to suppose that Lynch’s refusal to answer the question about rescheduling marijuana means the federal government has no intention to do so in the near future. What does this mean for the marijuana industry? It means the power that the federal government has to potentially flip the entire decision at some point in the future. Federal position, is after all, weighted more heavily in comparison to state and it is the state that is required to be in consistency with federal. The future of the marijuana industry requires the rescheduling of marijuana to occur to ensure its future sustainability.