Cannabis advocates say Sessions' pot announcement is 'attack on the voters' will'
Marijuana activists in Nevada quickly came out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that he would rescind an Obama-era policy of taking a hands-off approach to state-approved cannabis laws.
"This isn't an issue about cannabis," said Fernando Leal with Sierra Well. "This is an issue that's something of a historical event in our country. It's one that really tests state rights."
The decision to rescind what is known as the Cole Memorandum cannot change state policies, but it may offer U.S. attorneys the freedom to decide how to enforce federal law that classifies marijuana as an illegal substance.
The rollback will no longer allow states to regulate and enforce their own cannabis laws.
Will Adler with the Sierra Cannabis Coalition said the policy did not help legalize marijuana in states but offered more of a guideline to prohibit federal interference.
"The rescinding of the Cole memo is a big deal because that was the memo we were using for our state-level operations," said Adler. "But I wouldn't say that this is the end of anything. I think that this is just the beginning of another fight."
Adler said Nevada has the most regulations in the nation when it comes to cannabis.
So if Nevada can't defend ourself, then no state can.
Adler added, "Because of that regulation, we should have no problem saying this is a legal state business; it's a state rights issue, here's why it's going to stay in Nevada."
He also noted the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment could help protect the cannabis industry, or at least, the medicinal portion of the business. The bill prohibits the Department of Justice from spending funds to interfere with state medical marijuana.
Nevada is one of six states to allow the sale of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Advocates say the cannabis industry has created more than 6,000 jobs and nearly $20 million in tax revenues since the recreational legalization in July.