Marijuana News Roundup: Mixed Signals from Trump Administration on Pot Law Enforcement

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Another week has passed and, if anything, the Trump administration’s approach to legal marijuana sales and use is just as unclear as ever. In a recent public statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that states can pass all the laws the want to legalize marijuana, but at the end of the day, marijuana distribution is a federal crime. What went unsaid is that it’s his job to enforce federal law.

Sessions is a long-time foe of marijuana legalization, but he may have softened a bit. According to a report at Politico, Sessions has “privately reassured some Republican senators that he won’t deviate from an Obama-era policy of allowing states to implement their own marijuana laws.”

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were among 11 senators who signed a letter to Sessions requesting that he “uphold the DOJ’s existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational marijuana use and ask that the Cole Memorandum remain in place.”

Anyone not living under a rock knows that Attorney General Sessions had more on his mind last week than how to enforce (or not) federal marijuana laws. Unless he decides to just throw up his hands and concede that there will be no change in federal enforcement, the status of legal marijuana will remain murky for a while to come.

Israel Officially Decriminalizes Marijuana Use
The Israeli cabinet approved on Sunday the decriminalized use of marijuana in Israel.

According to the proposal formulated by the Public Security and Justice ministries, any first-time offender caught using marijuana in public would receive a fine rather than face criminal action.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the change a welcome one. “This is a milestone so thousands of ordinary people will no longer be considered criminals,” she said. …

According to the new policy, first-time offenders caught using marijuana in a public place will incur a fine of 1,000 shekels ($271) but the offender will not face criminal charges. The fine will be doubled on the second offense. The third offense will lead to probation, with the record of the offense only being expunged after a brief period. Only on the fourth offense will criminal charges be pressed.

Read more at Haaretz.