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Statement from Rep. Peter DeFazio on Department of Justice Rollback of State-Level Protections for Legalized Marijuana from Federal Overreach

Jan 4, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of intent to repeal an Obama-era policy that protects states that have legalized marijuana from federal prosecution:

I have long advocated for states’ rights to regulate marijuana use for their citizens without federal intervention. Today’s announcement by AG Sessions is a gross overreach of federal authority that will impair thousands of small businesses across the country while doing absolutely nothing to stem drug deaths in Oregon.

Against all logic, marijuana is currently classified at the federal level as a Schedule I drug, the highest possible restriction. These drugs are considered the most dangerous with the highest potential for abuse and no recognized medical benefits. Including marijuana in Schedule I classification means the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) considers it to be just as dangerous as heroin and LSD. This is completely absurd.

Furthermore, this announcement is a major blow to thousands of small marijuana-related businesses across the country that are already facing challenges with federal taxation and access to banking services.

Meanwhile, Oregon's death rate from opioids has more than quadrupled in the last 10 years. The Oregon Health Authority reported that an average of three Oregonians die per week from  prescription opioid overdose. And it’s not just Oregon. The Center for Disease Control estimates that in 2016, over 52,000 Americans died of drug overdose, and tens of thousands more died in 2017. Our Justice Department ought to be focusing its resources on the opioid epidemic, not on attacking law-abiding citizens who are acting in accordance with their states’ own regulations. 

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