Would a Government Shutdown Give Jeff Sessions His Opportunity to Go After Legal Marijuana?
If Jeff Sessions has been waiting to strike against legal marijuana, including medical marijuana, his first real opportunity may be coming this weekend. It has become a regularity for the government to fail at extending its budget past the deadline. The next potential government shutdown could happen on Friday at midnight unless the budget is extended.
When the government shuts down, federal employees do not go to work. Well, most of them do not go to work, some, like the DEA and federal prosecutors, do actually still work. With a failure to extend the budget, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment will not be passed allowing funds to be distributed to authorities to go after states that have legalized medical cannabis, and of course recreational marijuana businesses would be in jeopardy as well.
That means U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime vocal legalization opponent, would get a legal green light to direct the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal prosecutors crack down on medical marijuana patients and providers for the first time since he took office in February.
“All agents in DEA field organizations are excepted from furlough because they support active counternarcotics investigations,” a Justice Department shutdown contingency plan says. “DEA investigations need to continue uninterrupted so that cases are not compromised and the health and safety of the American public is not placed at risk.”
The same goes for federal prosecutors.
“As Presidential Appointees, U.S. Attorneys are not subject to furlough,” the shutdown plan says. “Excepted employees are needed to address ongoing criminal matters and civil matters of urgency throughout the Nation. Criminal litigation will continue without interruption as an excepted activity to maintain the safety of human life and the protection of property.”
The Schedule 1 federal status of marijuana makes it illegal throughout the country even though many states have legalized it. Do you think raids will be happening this weekend on marijuana businesses?