Tuesday, June 13, 2017

State Rights!

State rights! State Rights! You have heard the Republicans say over and over again. On the floors of the Senate and House. In congressional hearing. On the campaign trail. Their mantra was “State Rights!”

Betsy DeVos in her hearing to confirm her as Secretary of Education said she would not enforce Title IX she said she would differ to the states.

Scott Pruitt in his hearing to confirm him as head of the EPA said he is in favor of state rights.

On and on the Republicans talk about state rights…
Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical marijuana providers
Washington Post
By Christopher Ingraham
June 13, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.

The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of Massroots.com and verified independently by The Washington Post, Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act." He continues:
I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.
Sessions's citing of a "historic drug epidemic" to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books.
So whatever happened to “State Rights?” The state legislatures voted for medical marijuana, so if you truly believe in state rights you will let the states decide on their marijuana laws and keep the federal government out of it. It will be interesting to see what the Republican Congress does with this request.

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