Last month Jeff Sessions and the GOP went after medical marijuana protections and now Sessions is putting the entire legal cannabis industry at risk. Sessions wrote a letter to all states saying the Cole Memorandum (Cole memo) is to be rescinded immediately. States are to follow the laws set forth by the Controlled Substance Act. Obama-era polices of noninterference pertaining to states marijuana laws are no longer in place.
What Is The Cole Memo?
The Cole memo is the document drafted by former Deputy Attorney General James Cole that was the binding set of regulations states recreational cannabis laws we’re to obey. As long as states were in 100 percent compliance with these laws, federal prosecutors would abstain from inference of cannabis related activities. States like Colorado have shown how serious they are about following the Cole memo’s rules. Last month the state raided 13 recreational dispensaries for state law violations. Colorado did this on its own accord with no prompting or help from DEA or any other federal agencies.
Sessions didn’t outright tell federal prosecutors to go after cannabis businesses, but he removed the leashes if any decide to do so themselves. In his letter Sessions mentions the finite resources they’re managing to prosecute marijuana cases, but to uphold federal law which still labels cannabis as a schedule-one drug. U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling of Massachusetts said his office would aggressively pursue cannabis related crimes but the states recreational marijuana law isn’t be addressed at this time. While Lelling seems to be lock-step with Sessions assessment that this is a “return to law,” most-everyone else seems to be unanimously against the move and are standing against Sessions and defending the Cole memo.
Another Trump Lie
Trump’s stance leading up to the 2017 election was to leave the states alone when it came to marijuana prosecution, a decision that held with President Obama and Attorney General Holder-era recommendations.
“I’m a states person, I think it should be up to the states,” Trump said.
Trump has been silent since Sessions rescinded the Cole memo. Trump hasn’t reigned in Session who’s been attacking cannabis since he took his attorney general position. Trump has not kept to his word on many things since he was elected, and the states cannabis rights is another entry on that long list of lies.
Defending The Cole Memo Against Jeff Sessions
Washington Governor Jay Inslee suggested the public stand firm and resist while Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said “we’re not messing around” in regards defending the Washington’s cannabis industry. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer of the District of Colorado, Republican Senator Cory Gardner, Lt. Governor of California Gavin Newsome and the Koch brothers are just some of the law makers and policy influencers that disagree with Sessions attack on the cannabis industry.
It’s well known that the war on drugs perpetuates racial stereotypes dealing with drug use and disproportionately effects black and brown neighborhoods, systematically ruining thousands of peoples lives. For Sessions to restart a drug war that’s wasted billions of tax dollars with no positive impact to show for it; is downright insulting to the critically thinking voters of this country. The majority of whom at minimum support medical cannabis if not complete legalization.
Cannabis needs to be further researched to fully understand its benefits and detriments, but it’s unanimously agreed that it’s safer than opioids, which is plaguing out country. It’s also safer than alcohol and tobacco; both are legal and regulated by the government despite having no medical usage whatsoever.
In Washington consumers have purchased $2.48 billion in cannabis, paid $223 million in sales tax $682 million in marijuana tax. That’s almost a $1 billion budget for Washington to fight Sessions decision. These numbers are as of Oct. 2017, according to 502data.