States with legal cannabis employ 149,304 Americans. From October of 2016 to September of 2017, employment in the industry rose 22%

In July of 2017 Colorado announced the state had pulled in $506 million in tax revenue from the regulated sale of legal cannabis. Half a billion dollars. This money was used to educate children, pave roads, and treat the sick.

January 4, 2018. Why today does Attorney General Sessions decide to announce that he is rescinding Obama-era guidelines respecting state laws on cannabis? We can only speculate. Perhaps the motivation is to just do the opposite of what Obama did. That seems to be the answer to many of the “why” questions in the current era. Some speculate the motivation is more sinister. Why do this days after California began legal, regulated, taxes commercial sales? To open the door for attacks against perceived enemies on the west coast?

Who knows.

Representative Keith Ellison speculates that Sessions motivation is to use “the criminal justice system as an instrument of racial and economic control of poor people and brown people.” In 1986, of course, Sessions was blocked from an appointment to the judicial bench because of a series of racial insensitive comments.  Again, Trumpian speculation is often a Rorschach test revealing as much about the reader as anything else. But the reasons to suspect the worst are ample, and mounting.

The call to respect “state rights” cannot be selectively applied. Expecting consistency from President Trump is a fool’s game but it must be repeated that he himself once said that decisions about legal cannabis “should be up to the states, absolutely.” We at Higher Ground agree with that statement. This is a matter that should be up to the states, and although measures like Prop 64 in California are not perfect, it is a start. This plant heals people, creates jobs, and assists cash starved states in providing basic services citizens need.

Cannabis is not just an industry. It is a mission and it is also about social justice. Coming off our most ever successful media campaign to help Berkeley Patients Group launch its legal dispensary in California (and who fought hard to get to where they are) we stand with the pioneers like them who opened the door to where we are today. We will continue to advocate, to speak out, and to seek justice.

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