The National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA), the organization that “serves as the voice of America’s prosecutors and strives to support their efforts to protect the rights and safety of the people in their communities”, created a policy group of 14 district attorneys on January 20 to advise on law and policy changes.
The group just released a white paper – on 4/20 – outlining their position on cannabis. And it’s not good.
This is a group that, at their first meeting, reportedly drafted a letter to all governors in states where medical and recreational cannabis are legal, saying that those businesses should be shut down within 90 days.
Cooler heads prevailed and that letter was dismissed. But it was a sort of shot across the bow of the industry, indicating that this group of prosecutors would be following along the same path as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said that federal law will be followed, and then went on to muddy the waters of where he really stands with subsequent statements.
The NDAA policy group represents 2,500 Republican and Democratic elected prosecutors, and their 40,000 assistants. In November, the NDAA formerly endorsed then-Senator Sessions as attorney general, with a glowing statement about his qualifications.
The summary of the position of the NDAA policy group as published in the white paper spells it out what they believe: “Federal drug enforcement policy regarding the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of marijuana should be applied consistently across the nation to maintain respect for the rule of law. The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) supports ongoing research into medicinal uses of marijuana and its derivatives, carried out consistent with any other research regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). NDAA also supports research regarding the impact of marijuana use on driving, regulated by appropriate agencies.”
The paper went on to cite a diatribe of anti-marijuana positions about impaired driving, access to marijuana by children and levels of addiction.. and the need for research.
The white paper has been the most significant action taken by the group since its formation, and no one knows what sort of legal firepower they will wield about cannabis legalization in the upcoming months.
There are currently four Colorado and three California prosecutors in the group, which legalization proponents hope will add some sort of logical balance to any discussions.
But the overriding fear from the group’s first official letter still resonates, and the fact that this policy group of prosecutors has Sessions’ back in any upcoming legal issues about cannabis legalization is cause for pause.. and reflection.. and maybe some proactive action.