PA Governor to AG Sessions: Don’t Get in the Way of Medical Marijuana

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has a message for Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Don’t get in the way of our medical marijuana program.

The Keystone State’s Democratic governor sent a letter to Sessions on Thursday, following reports that the Attorney General has asked Congress to undo medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, and are set to expire in September if they are not reauthorized.

Those protections ban the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws, specifically stating that no federal funds may be appropriated to “prevent any [state] from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

In a May letter sent to Members of Congress and obtained earlier this week by long-time marijuana activist Tom Angel, Sessions said the amendment would “inhibit” the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.

The letter is the most recent development in a series of statements by Sessions recently that activists fear could indicate a forthcoming crackdown on medical marijuana providers by the federal government, even in states that have a regulated medical marijuana program.

With Pennsylvania close to implementing such a tightly regulated medical marijuana program, which Wolf advocated for and signed into law last year, the Pennsylvania governor sent his own letter to Attorney General Sessions on Thursday.

“Your action to undo the protections of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use federal funds to disrupt states’ efforts to implement “their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana” is misguided,” Wolf wrote.

In his letter, which can be found in its entirety following this article, Gov. Wolf noted that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was written with bi-partisan cooperation, with Republicans and Democrats working with patients to write the law.

“Given the bipartisan and medical consensus for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania and many other states, I am disturbed to know that you are actively pursuing a change in federal law to go after medical marijuana suppliers,” Wolf writes.

The governor emphasized that the state has taken “careful and deliberate steps” to provide relief to patients while implementing a responsible medical marijuana program.

Before closing, Governor Wolf threatened the Attorney General with legal action if the federal government attempted to interfere with Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

“If you seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty,” Wolf firmly stated.

The full letter appears below.


Dear Attorney General Sessions:

Last year, the Pennsylvania passed bipartisan legislation to legalize Medical Marijuana that I was proud to sign into law. The legislation was the result of conversations with Republicans and Democrats and fierce advocacy from families of children who were stricken with terrible illness that could be helped by Medical Marijuana.

We talked to kids who suffer dozens of seizures in a given day. We met veterans who have seen absolute terror and seek relief from the effects of their post-traumatic stress. We approached the responsibility of providing relief to the people of Pennsylvania very thoughtfully. 

Since I signed the legislation, we have taken very careful and deliberate steps to implement the law so that those who are suffering can get relief while ensuring that the state is a responsible steward of the program.

Given the bipartisan and medical consensus for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania and many other states, I am disturbed to know that you are actively pursuing a change in federal law to go after medical marijuana suppliers.

We do not need the federal government getting in the way of Pennsylvania’s right to deliver them relief through our new medical marijuana program.

Your action to undo the protections of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use federal funds to disrupt states’ efforts to implement “their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana” is misguided.

If you seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty.

Sincerely,

Governor Tom Wolf

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