While many advancements toward ending prohibition have been made across the country, we still have a long way to go. The Trump administration has created panic for the marijuana industry. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a long time prohibitionist, made a couple of anti-marijuana statements in the last month or so to warrant some concern. He made it clear that he supports neither medical nor recreational marijuana and mentioned cracking down on recreational marijuana in particular.
National Alarm in Response to Threats of a Crackdown
Sessions’ history includes calling medical marijuana overrated, saying marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin and stating that good people don’t use marijuana. Both he and Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the Trump administration may introduce a crackdown on recreational marijuana although no official statements or plans have been expressed in this regard. Nonetheless, the comments are enough to cause alarm within the marijuana industry and community. The Obama administration allowed states to create their own marijuana laws without federal interference and while Trump during his election campaign indicated that he would also support states in creating their own laws, it’s unclear now whether or not this sentiment will be carried through.
Protecting the Identity of Those Buying Marijuana
As a result, states with legal marijuana have been working hard to ensure that they are as protected as possible, with legislators introducing bills that could serve to protect both businesses and citizens buying marijuana, should the federal government enforce a crackdown. A recent move in this direction includes a bill that was recently passed in Oregon that would protect the identity of any individuals who purchase marijuana. Ordinarily, marijuana businesses collect personal information from customers for marketing or other business purposes. The new law that passed prohibits businesses from keeping any customer information so that the identity of those purchasing marijuana will be protected.
Passing Safeguards in Oregon
Recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon for adults over the age of 21, therefore it is essential for clerks to be able to check that a customer buying marijuana is above the legal age but it is not necessary for businesses to keep that information or any other data on hand. The measure overwhelmingly passed, with legislators enthusiastic about protecting citizens’ rights in this matter. “I personally am very concerned that we give as much protection to Oregon citizens to ensure that their personal identification information is not somehow compromised,” said state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, who is a Democrat.
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal on a federal level and classed in the highest risk drug category along with heroin and ecstasy. Drugs in this category are considered to have no medicinal value and despite all the evidence to the contrary, the DEA has continued to classify it in this way. Legislators are working now to change the classification or remove it entirely, which would allow the plant to be regulated in a similar manner to alcohol and cigarettes. Given that the plant has been found to be healthier and safer than both alcohol and cigarettes, many marijuana advocates are hoping for this outcome. Until then, states will have to work on continuing to protect the industry and its supporters who are buying marijuana. This law is an example of how that is underway.