Report: Marijuana memo important part of debate

Report: Marijuana memo important part of debate

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A memo released Thursday by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions involving the enforcement of federal law dealing with marijuana has again changed the debate over the issue, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Thursday.

According to a report from Little Rock television station KARK, Gov. Hutchinson said the memo was a "very significant development" and that the memo could impact the state in both banking and how federal prosecutors plan to distinguish between the two types of legalized marijuana.

"You should look at where President Trump has been," Gov. Hutchinson told KARK, noting the President has said medical marijuana is a suitable exemption to federal law while recreational use is not.

Hutchinson, a former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, also said the federal enforcement policy is key "of where we go as a country" and said he did not want the state to be a recreational-use state, KARK reported.

Sessions rescinded a memo created by the then-Obama administration, giving states the power to create laws legalizing marijuana on a local level.

Also, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association released a statement Thursday on the issue, which is part of the debate over the 2018 federal budget.

"The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association has reviewed Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that he is rescinding a series of memos adopted to ensure the federal government does not interfere with states' rights to legalize and administer medical marijuana laws," the statement read. "In light of this news, the Association calls on the Arkansas congressional delegation to support reauthorization of the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment as part of the 2018 budget. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment prevents the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana businesses and patients that operate in compliance with state law. The Association will work with the congressional delegation to ensure that Arkansas continues to have the right to administer a successful medical marijuana program."

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