New federal pot policy has advocates on edge

New federal pot policy has advocates on edge

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo rescinding an Obama-era Policy dealing with marijuana. The Cole Memo was a more hands off approach on pot possession and distribution where it's legal.

Defense attorney Michael King said it is an example of the power shared between state and federal law.

"The state government and the federal government have concurrent criminal jurisdiction," King said. "What that means is that they both have the ability to prosecute crimes."

Jake Syma, with Hub City Norml, an organization for marijuana laws said it is stalling momentum against legalization nation-wide.

"What really needs to happen is what's needed to happen for a long time," Syma said. "Congress actually does need to step up and do it's job and if it wants Marijuana to be regulated differently, then it should do that."

King said those weed friendly states are not out of options.

"The state doesn't have to change their laws," King said. "Whether or not the state cooperates with those investigations, whether or not the state, local police departments, local sheriffs offices, will cooperate with the DEA and the FBI in those investigations remains to be unseen."

Syma believes it is a back and forth argument between each administration.

"The Bush administration is you know gonna do things this way, the Obama administration is going to things that way, the Trump administration is going to do things this other way, and the next administration will do things somewhat differently," Syma said. "So if we want to remove some of that variability, then Congress should definitely step up."

With this administration, King is not surprised by Sessions move.

"One of the things that we have heard over and over from this administration is a tough on crimes stance and what that equals is a Session memo that says that we are going to take a hard line on any and all drugs," King said.

Syma's biggest concern is for medical marijuana users. He said their well-being should be the priority.

"Medical marijuana was actually something that candidate Trump was a lot better and more outspoken on," Syma said. "For medical, he was usually out there saying he definitely thought that was an issue best left to the state." 

The Compassionate Use Program in Texas is limited to patients with intractable epilepsy and only allows use of certain oils. Syma said he does not think the new policy will have an affect on that program.

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