SALEM, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon congressman who is a chief backer of legalized marijuana is urging a fight against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's plan to open the gates to federal enforcement of laws against marijuana.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who co-sponsored an amendment that prevents the Justice Department from interfering with states' medical marijuana programs, called the move outrageous.
He said anyone who cares about this issue should mobilize and push back strongly.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said rolling back federal marijuana policy, which has been largely non-interventionist, will disrupt the state's economy. She said over 19,000 jobs have been created by the marijuana market in Oregon, which was the first state to decriminalize personal possession in 1973, legalized medical marijuana in 1998, and recreational use in 2014.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley released this statement on Session's announcement:
“This is a destructive decision and a huge step backwards. Whatever happened to Attorney General Sessions’ belief in states’ rights? This decision directly contradicts then-candidate Trump’s statement on cannabis policy that ‘it should be up to the states, absolutely.’
“There is nothing to be gained from going back to an era when federal resources were wasted prosecuting nonviolent cannabis crimes. This decision will create massive uncertainty, hurt local businesses and tax revenue, and harm public safety by driving cannabis activity back into the more dangerous black market. The Justice Department should immediately reverse this misguided decision and honor Trump’s campaign commitment, and I will keep fighting to make this happen.”