In this way, the federal government announced that it would let these states deal with marijuana as long as they did not threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and targeting cartels. The amendment was attached to an appropriations bill and barred the DOJ from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of medical marijuana laws.
Gardner raised the possibility of congressional action on marijuana, saying he met this week with a bipartisan group of senators to talk about medical marijuana laws across the country.
"Vets are happy that there's a policy, but they're unnerved by that prohibition", he said. He has always been open with his VA doctors about his medical marijuana use and hasn't suffered any negative consequences.
Anti-marijuana activists are gearing up for a new fight. Gardner says he thinks that's still President Trump's position. But any such Republicans who felt Trump would be a pro-marijuana president were misguided, said Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist who studies the economics of libertarianism with a focus on illegal drugs. "And we're interested in looking at that and learning from that". As a result, each USA attorney now has more flexibility to enforce - or not - the federal prohibition on production and sale of the drug in those states.
Yes, Sessions deserves the flack he gets for his outdated views on marijuana, which he says is "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Doctors aren't permitted to prescribe marijuana.
Citing a 2016 report, he criticized Washington state for failing to merge our medical and retail marijuana systems. As such, there is renewed eagerness by both medicinal and recreational marijuana advocates to shore up the industry's legal standing and the shock caused by the DOJ's move last week.
On Jan. 4, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memorandum removing a policy made under the Obama administration that reduced federal marijuana restrictions in states that moved to approve recreational use of the drug.
Even worse, they still aren't taking action on the issue.
Some consider caution a good thing.
Sessions' act leaves many in politics wondering where states' rights end and medical and recreational users wondering what's next. The experts found conclusive evidence for a relatively limited number of conditions, including relief of chronic pain, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead, who also participated in the Friday panel, said, "I don't see us moving forward with recreational, particularly in light of the change I've seen over the last week".
In case anyone was anxious that all 1,000 US adults surveyed are marijuana users, 74 percent said they had not consumed cannabis in the previous year.
In that respect, the guidance from the VA is a positive development. This policy shift will significantly heighten risks for credit unions serving state-authorized marijuana-related businesses or operating in states with legalized cannabis.
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.