Did Attorney General Jeff Sessions Just Ruin Legal Cannabis For Everybody

On Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era memorandums that protect the cannabis community in cannabis-friendly states

  • Federal prosecutors across the country will be able to decide how they enforce federal cannabis laws in cannabis friendly states

  • This week California became the eighth recreation state along with 29 states that support some form of medical cannabis

  • Sessions is already catching a large amount of backlash after his decision to rescind the Cole Memo

America’s cannabis community is in an uproar after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama Administration guidelines established to protect states with medical and recreational cannabis laws on Thursday.

Even though the majority of states are accepting of medical cannabis and eight states have approved of recreational cannabis, Sessions is attempting to reignite the war on cannabis based on his 50’s marijuana propaganda view towards the plant.

The Obama-era memorandums — known as the “Cole Memo” — not only protected the cannabis community, they provided desperately needed reassurance to uneasy investors and local governments in regards to moving forward with legal cannabis use, both medicanal and recreational. Sessions actions mean Federal prosecutors nation-wide will now be able to decide how to enforce federal cannabis laws in states where medical or recreational use is legal. Prior to rescinding the Cole Memo, federal prosecutors were kept at bay on enforcing federal cannabis laws in cannabis-friendly states.

Sessions’ attack on Cannabis comes just days after California became the eighth state to support legal cannabis use, which has many Californians worried this is the beginning of the end for the short-lived life of legal cannabis in the United States.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said the move “continues the Trump Administration’s cynical war on America’s largest state.”

Today, Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration destructively doubled down on the failed, costly and racially discriminatory policy of marijuana criminalization, trampling on the will of California voters and a year-long bipartisan implementation process led by Governor Brown and the California legislature.

This position defies facts and logic, threatens the promise of a safe, stable, and legal regulatory framework being pursued by twenty-nine different states, and continues the Trump Administration’s cynical war on America’s largest state — and its people and progress — through immigration crackdowns,tax increases, climate policy reversals, health care repeals and now marijuana policing.

It also flies in the face of the overwhelming public opinion of a vast majority of Americans, who support marijuana legalization.

As it has on other issues, California will stand together to pursue all legal, legislative and political options to protect its reform and its rights as a state. I call on our federal leaders to move quickly to protect states’ rights from the harmful efforts of this ideological temper tantrum by Jeff Sessions.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman released the following statement in a response to Sessions actions on Thursday.

As Attorney General it is my responsibility to defend our state laws—and I will continue to do so. There is still a lot we don’t know about what enforcement priorities the Justice Department will implement. I expect, however, that the federal government will continue to focus their enforcement efforts and resources on combatting the gray and black markets and diversion, and not target marijuana businesses who abide by our state’s laws.

The State of Colorado has worked diligently to implement the will of our citizens and has built a comprehensive regulatory and enforcement system that prioritizes public safety and public health. There is still work to be done, but as a state we have focused on strengthening regulation of recreational marijuana and enforcement of state laws. I believe that the priorities laid out in the Cole Memo, including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing criminal enterprises and cartels from using our state’s laws as a cover or pretext for illegal activity, and worked well with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado as enforcement priorities have been set, and I expect that partnership and our open communication to continue.

Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer

Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer gave the following response, which should help the Colorado cannabis relax.

Today the Attorney General rescinded the Cole Memo on marijuana prosecutions, and directed that federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions. The United States Attorney’s Office in Colorado has already been guided by these principles in marijuana prosecutions — focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state. We will, consistent with the Attorney General’s latest guidance, continue to take this approach in all of our work with our law enforcement partners throughout Colorado.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson stating he was “disappointed and troubled” by Sessions plan to destroy current cannabis policy.

I am disappointed and troubled by reports that AG Sessions plans to abandon the current federal policy on marijuana — a policy that respects states’ rights and focuses federal employment on key, shared areas of concern. Over the past year, Sessions has demonstrated a stunning lack of knowledge about our state’s marijuana laws. If reports are accurate, Sessions is changing policy after refusing multiple requests for a meeting from Governor Jay Inslee and myself. I pledge to vigorously defend the will of the voters in Washington State.



About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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