New U.S. Attorney General could ‘blow up’ nation’s legal marijuana industry, Washoe DA says
December 8, 2016 – by Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General. He is a staunch anti-marijuana advocate.
If confirmed as the U.S. Attorney General, Sessions could stop the legal, recreational marijuana industry in Nevada and across the nation, said Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks.
“It is a federal crime and certainly, they (federal government) could blow it up, if they want to put the federal resources into enforcing what is a crime federally, sure,” Hicks said.
While the use of recreational marijuana was approved by Nevada voters in November, it remains an illegal substance under federal law and is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Control Substances Act of 1970.
Hicks, speaking during a taping of Nevada Newsmakers, questioned if Sessions would use federal resources to bring down the marijuana industry nationwide.
“I don’t know if that (smashing the marijuana business) is his agenda,” Hicks said. “I certainly think it would probably be met very poorly in our state because our state voted to pass the legalization of recreational marijuana.”
He later added, “Marijuana…it is becoming accepted. I was a strong opponent of it being passed, I really worried about the public safety, but it passed. I’ll let that go and move forward now to making sure we keep our streets safe.”
Eight states now allow legal recreational marijuana. A total of 28 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico allow for medical marijuana.
However, Sessions said earlier this year, “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and “we need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say ‘marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized,’ ” according to the Boston Globe.
Hicks said the Trump Administration would face a “big hurdle” if it went after the legal marijuana business.
“Every election cycle, there is another state that passes it,” Hicks said. “And so if that were the position they (federal government officials) wanted to take, it’s going to be a big hurdle. But hey, if that is the way they see it, go get ’em.”
If the Trump Administration wanted to go after the legal marijuana industry, it could strike at the growers, retail outlets, investors and users, Hicks said.
“I think you could do all of those,” Hicks said. “And you could seize funds. There’s a lot of mechanisms.
“I’ll give you a lower-level example: In our community, we regularly seize drug proceeds from drug dealers, cash that they clearly made selling drugs illegally in our community,” Hicks said. “That is a lawful forfeiture. And so there is a lot of money being made off recreational marijuana. There is a lot out there. It can’t go into banks. It is a very unique circumstance.”
Hicks said his intentions were not to alarm the public or those invested in the marijuana industry.
“But I’m saying theoretically, all of those things (going after growers, retailers, investors and users) can be done. And those are on the books. They are (federal) laws.”
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