Today, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice has rescinded the “Cole Memo” and two additional memos related to marijuana enforcement policy. These memos, issued in 2013 and 2014, have helped to clarify the Department’s response to state-legal cannabis activity.
In response to these developments, National Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director, Aaron Smith has issued the following statement:
This news from the Department of Justice is disturbing, especially in light of the fact that 73% of voters oppose federal interference with state cannabis laws. But, the rescinding of this memo does not necessarily mean that any major change in enforcement policy is on the horizon. This has been, and still will be, a matter of prosecutorial discretion. We therefore hope that Department of Justice officials, including U.S. Attorneys, will continue to uphold President Trump’s campaign promise to not interfere with state cannabis programs, which have been overwhelmingly successful in undercutting the criminal market.
In addition to safely regulating the production and sale of cannabis, state-based cannabis programs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated more than a billion dollars in state and local tax revenue to date. Any significant change in federal enforcement policy will result in higher unemployment and will take funds away from education and other beneficial programs. Those revenues will instead go back to drug cartels and other criminal actors.
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Representing well over 1,500 member-businesses nationwide, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.