By rescinding the federal policy to refrain from enforcing federal law in states with legal marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has effectively terrified people who are invested in legal marijuana businesses. His actions may also prove to be beneficial for drug cartels if people are scared enough to avoid registering with the state and making themselves a target for arrest when Sessions starts his anticipated cannabis crackdown. The revoked federal policy, called the Cole Memo, was established to protect legalized states from federal prosecution.
The announcement has already wreaked havoc on states where marijuana is legal because banks no longer wish to risk federal prosecution. Governments are now tasked with finding a place for the massive revenue generated from the regulated cannabis market.
A partner from the law firm Harris Bricken in Washington state pointed out the irony of rescinding the Cole Memo now when financial institutions were just starting to risk opening accounts for customers in the marijuana market. Now that the protection has been revoked by Sessions, banks and credit unions not involved in the industry are not likely to start now, and those already providing banking services for customers with marijuana businesses are likely to notify customers they can no longer accept their business and will be closing all accounts.
Cannabis Crackdown Will Force People into Black Market
People who are afraid to buy marijuana legally will be forced to buy marijuana on the street. The majority of the marijuana not grown in the United States is smuggled through Mexico by the drug cartels. The amount of marijuana smuggled isn’t known, but at least 2.3 million pounds of marijuana was seized by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency in 2012. Seizures had decreased with states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, with seizures dropping to 861,231 in 2017. Legalizing marijuana allowed states to regulate and cultivate marijuana, which significantly lowered the US demand for Mexican marijuana.
The Sinaloa cartel is the largest drug-trafficking organization in Mexico, as well as one of the most violent. Business Insider reported that, according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency, the Sinaloa cartel provided Chicago alone with more than 80 percent of its cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and crystal methamphetamine in 2013. The street value was approximately $3 billion. The Sinaloa and the Jalisco New Generation drug cartels are currently fighting for turf, and more than 20, 878 people were murdered in a 10-month period alone. By rescinding the Cole Memo, Sessions has effectively invited the Sinaloa and other drug cartels into the country, along with the violence.
The cartels will also make billions of dollars that could be used for pensions, schools, or health care. The Oregon Department of Revenue gave $85 million of its marijuana tax revenue to the police department, mental health services, alcohol-abuse treatment, and the Oregon public school system. If Sessions enforces his cannabis crackdown in legal marijuana states like Oregon, that money will go into the bloody hands of drug cartels instead. If that happens, the cartels won’t be the only ones with blood on their hands; The Trump Administration will have another catastrophe to add to their list of cataclysms.
Article by: Niko Mann