Panel: Feds unlikely to crack down on legal marijuana

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Legal marijuana businesses shouldn’t be worried about a federal crackdown, a panel of experts from the legal, political and policy realms said.

According to The Boston Globe, the panelists reasoned that the federal government won’t go after marijuana businesses because it lacks the funding to execute an “effective” crackdown.

They also said most U.S. attorneys appointed by President Trump and other officials in enforcement positions would see participating in such crackdowns as politically unpopular and potentially hurtful to their professional careers, the newspaper reported.

Cannabis industry officials are wary about federal interference after recent actions and continued anti-marijuana statements by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The panelists shared their opinions at a National Conference of State Legislatures gathering in Boston. The panelists:

  • Robert Mikos, Vanderbilt University law professor.
  • Roger Goodman, member of the Washington state House of Representatives.
  • John Hudak, fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC.

While Mikos said federal intervention would be unlikely, he suggested lawmakers could establish an “indemnification fund” to pay for the legal defense of state-licensed marijuana businesses that the government interferes with, the Globe reported.

Goodman said federal officials have indicated that prosecuting marijuana dispensaries isn’t a priority.

“We’ve heard in private conversations that they have other priorities and they have limited resources, and they think that the current federal enforcement guidelines are very helpful,” Goodman said, according to the newspaper. “And so we’re encouraged that, despite the public saber-rattling, the federal government is going to be finding other enforcement priorities.”