Colorado Politicians Ask Sessions To Leave Legal Marijuana States Alone


Members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation; led by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.; sent a bipartisan letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to reverse his decision on the Cole Memorandum. The Cole Memorandum is necessary to protect Colorado from the federal government’s interference into its well-regulated marijuana industry.

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., Rep. Coffman, R-Colo., Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., sent the letter together, and have been actively pursuing options to stop the Attorney General and Dept. of Justice from going after states, like Colorado, where marijuana is legal – both medical and recreational.

The letter reads, in part:

We represent a state that posed the question of marijuana legalization to its voters not once, but twice. Voters first approved the use of medical marijuana and subsequently, our constituents approved its use for adult recreational use. The citizens of Colorado have spoken on this issue. We believe we are obliged to heed their decision. Further, all the laws and regulations put in place governing the use of marijuana in our state clearly restrict it to a matter internal to the state of Colorado.

We strongly urge the Department to reinstate the Cole Memorandum in order to ensure the Department is acting to uphold the will of Colorado voters and the rights of the states to regulate intrastate commerce.

Download the official letter here.

In addition to asking Sessions to reinstate the Cole Memorandum, Polis is seeking to amend the government funding bill to include the “McClintock/Polis Amendment,” which would prohibit the Dept. of Justice from using resources to prosecute those who follow state marijuana laws. Polis has offered the McClintock/Polis amendment several times throughout the years.

“I am pursuing all ways of ensuring that states are allowed to regulate marijuana without interference from the federal government. I have called on the President to override the Attorney General’s decision, I have directly urged the Attorney General to reinstate the Cole memo, and I plan to move forward my legislative fixes,” said Polis. “For several years, I have run a bipartisan amendment which would prohibit the Dept. of Justice from using federal resources to interfere with legal medical and recreational marijuana activities. Now with Sessions’s shortsighted announcement, the idea behind my amendment is gaining traction from both Democrats and Republicans. While it is far from a done deal, I am hopeful that we can attach language to the government funding bill to protect legalized recreational and medical marijuana. It would be a temporary but necessary fix, as I continue to push my Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would finally lift the federal prohibition on marijuana.”

Polis, along with three other members of Congress, launched the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus in 2017. The Caucus is a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.

Polis has been a longtime advocate for updating federal marijuana policy. He has introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. This bill would remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug; transition marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulate marijuana like alcohol by inserting it into the section of the U.S. Code that governs “intoxicating liquors.” Last April, Polis drafted an article pleading with President Trump to leave marijuana alone.

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