Pueblo Co. Commissioner blasts change in US marijuana policy - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo Co. Commissioner blasts change in US marijuana policy

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Sal Pace in his role as State Representative Sal Pace in his role as State Representative

Lawmakers and government officials have been quick to respond to reports out just this morning that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to rescind federal policy that has allowed marijuana to flourish in many states.

According to reports from the Associated Press, Sessions plans to reverse Obama-era policy on marijuana, and instead will let federal prosecutors where pot is legal decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law.

In 2013, the Obama administration announced it would not stand in the way of states that legalize marijuana, so long as officials acted to keep it form migrating to places where it remained illegal.

Since the lax stance by the Obama administration was enacted, the pot business has become a sophisticated, multi-million-dollar industry that helps fund schools, educational programs and law enforcement. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and estimates for California alone project $1 billion in annual tax revenues within a few years.

In response to the alleged shift in policy by Sessions, Pueblo County Commissioner and former Colorado House Democratic Leader Sal Pace has released the following statement.

"Any move by the DOJ to reverse cannabis legalization enacted by citizens across the country will be opposed vigorously by a bipartisan national coalition of local elected officials. A reversal of the sovereign voice of the American public is an assault on the intellect of Americans, an assault on the fundamental tenants of democracy, and an attack on the Constitutional guarantee of states’ rights. That is why I am bringing together local elected officials across the country to demand that Congress act immediately to protect the voice of their constituents and allow states to determine their own fate."

Sessions has reportedly compared marijuana to heroin, as well as blaming it's legalization for spikes in violence.

Pot advocates have argued that legalization eliminates the need for a black market and would likely reduce violence.

County Commissioner Pace also had this to say in response to the reported change in policy.

"The American public has spoken loud and clear that states should have the right to determine their own fate on cannabis, and not some appointed official. The citizens from this Trump backing county do not want this economic engine shut down, sending thousands of people to the unemployment line and costing our County government millions in tax revenues.”

Pace represents 165,000 residents in Pueblo County.

According to the Pueblo County Commissioner's Office, roughly $6 million of Pueblo County's $88 million general fund is supported by cannabis tax revenues.

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