Emergency Marijuana Bill Will Shield Users From Looming Federal Crackdown

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Lawmakers are attempting to preempt the Trump administration’s threatened crackdown on recreational marijuana with an emergency bill protecting users’ personal information.

The legislation comes in response to comments recently made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding state marijuana laws, particularly ones that have legalized recreational use. Officials from the White House have not clarified their stance, only saying federal enforcement of marijuana laws will likely increase, reports KATU.

The bill will bar any marijuana business in the state from retaining personal information about customers for more than 48 hours and prohibits businesses from sharing customer information with anyone else. Lawmakers hope this will protect users from possible raids and seizures by the federal government.

“I could see where the federal government would come in and try to gather this information from businesses that have stockpiled it and retained it in their records,” Democratic state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a sponsor of the bill, told CBS News. “I think we as legislators have a duty to protect our citizens.”

It is unclear how aggressive the administration will ultimately be on the issue, but officials in Oregon want to ensure their voter-approved state law is protected. Recent rhetoric from Sessions is only adding to anxieties within the burgeoning marijuana industry.

Sessions claimed Feb. 27 there is “more violence around marijuana” than people are generally aware, even dismissing research showing marijuana can help aid opioid addiction and serve as an alternative painkiller for patients with chronic pain.

Sessions will review and potentially roll back aspects of the Cole memo, a set of guidelines established in 2013 that directs the Department of Justice to focus marijuana enforcement efforts on violent crimes and distribution in states without legalization laws.

The administration will battle against public opinion if it follows through with enforcement of federal marijuana laws. The latest polling from Quinnipiac shows 59 percent of voters support federal marijuana legalization.

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