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Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo which could potentially apply the death penalty to state legal weed growers. The memo is intended to combat drug traffickers contributing to the opioid crisis sweeping the Midwest.
Sessions’ memo uses an obscure law that allows the death penalty to be applied to several crimes, including the trafficking of extremely large quantities of drugs. The memo is seemingly targeted mainly at heroin smugglers, however, the federal law he references specifies no drug in particular.
This means, in theory, anyone convicted under federal law as having cultivated more than 60,000 marijuana plants could find themselves eligible for the death penalty.
The death penalty has never been applied to anyone trafficking or cultivating large quantities of drugs. In June Colorado legal weed growers were found to have cultivated 1 million marijuana plants, leaving them well within the threshold for the death penalty.
Legal experts agree that it is technically possible for the government to seek the death penalty against legal weed growers, but it is very unlikely that they will apply the law in states where cannabis is legal.
No matter how unlikely it is, it shows the huge disconnect between federal and state law when it comes to cannabis regulation.Sessions is well known for his anti-cannabis views, but it is highly unlikely that he’ll be able to pass this memo against legal weed growers.