WASHINGTON — The news that an Obama-era policy which prevented crackdowns on the marijuana trade is not raising concern at one D.C. area cannabis dispensary.
“I think it will help the medicinal market, because the medicinal market is legitimate,” said Bill Askinazi, owner of Potomac Holistics in Rockville.
Askinazi believes U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ revoking of the policy, which largely prevented federal authorities from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states where the drug has been legalized, will be more problematic for black market marijuana sales.
“In my opinion, it’s totally restricted although not explicitly, but implicitly to nonmedicinal, that is the recreation market,” Askinazi said.
Askinazi, who is also an attorney, said he believes cracking down on those legally selling medicinal marijuana under state laws would be an abrupt change in federal policy, which would result in legal challenges.
Many of those challenges would be over the 10th amendment and come down to a state’s right to protect its citizens versus the federal government’s right to enforce federal laws, Askinazi said.
“We feel confident that in dispensing medicine as opposed to either being illegal or recreational even, that we are on a much higher ground both legislatively and constitutionally,” Askinazi said.
Askinazi said he thinks the announcement may give more credence to the anti-cannabis and anti-medical cannabis crowd, but it is also empowers those trying to change federal marijuana laws.
“There’s equal and probably more trumpeting going on to liberalize the cannabis laws that have not gotten enough attention and they deserve that attention,” Askinazi said.
Potomac Holistics became Montgomery County’s first dispensary for medical marijuana in December and sold out of its initial supply within two days of opening its doors.
The opening of the dispensary and several others in the state comes after a 2014 state law allowed for doctors certified by the state’s medical cannabis commission to prescribe the drug for medicinal purposes.
With the rise in the number of states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, Askinazi said he doesn’t feel this move by Department of Justice will result in the undoing of law changes which have been seen up to this point.
“It’s gone too far,” Askinazi said. “The train’s left the station, California is third largest economy in the world and they’ve legalized it so, there’s no rolling this back.”
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