Jeff Sessions appointment and subsequent confirmation as United States Attorney General certainly caused consternation among the cannabis community, with many gravely concerned following recent statements by Sessions and Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer regarding state’s recreational marijuana laws. While Attorney General Sessions has much bigger fish to fry than state-regulated cannabis providers, especially since he is under fire for lying about meeting with Russian officials during his confirmation hearings, but a group of 11 United States Senators aren’t taking any chances and they fired off a letter urging the attorney general to follow former President Obama’s states’ rights cannabis policy.
Ten Democrats, including likely 2020 presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker, were joined by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski in the letter to AG Sessions that concluded:
We respectfully request that you uphold the DOJ’s existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational marijuana use and ask that the Cole Memorandum remain in place. It is critical that states can continue to implement these laws under the framework of the Cole Memorandum. In addition, we request that state and local elected officials, and public health and safety officials, be afforded an opportunity to comment on any shift in policy from that expressed in the Cole Memorandum, to avoid disruption of existing regulation and enforcement efforts. We appreciate your immediate attention to this request.
I do hope that Attorney General Sessions agrees to adhere to the Cole Memo, but I doubt that these senators will get Session’s “immediate attention” with his own Russia scandal swirling around him. Personally, I expect to see the Trump Administration to maintain the Cole Memo with some beefed up enforcement. For instance, those caught violating state law, such as selling marijuana to anyone under the age of 21, should expect federal charges as well. Additionally, cannabis businesses need to be sure to pay all of their taxes, including following the unfair 280E tax code.
It is great that we have bipartisan pressure on the Sessions Justice Department and the entire Trump Administration to respect the will of the voters in both the Senate and the House. I am proud to cast my vote for Oregon representative Earl Blumenauer, co-founder of the House Congressional Cannabis Caucus, as well as Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, to signers of this request to Sessions.
It is imperative that we keep up the pressure on the Trump Administration to follow states’ rights and refrain from trampling on the will of voters that have legalized cannabis in their states. Sign the petition to call on Donald Trump to adhere to his campaign promise to leave marijuana policy to the states, urge your representative to join the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and contact your senator to ask them to join this bipartisan group of senators calling for a sensible federal cannabis policy. We are in the strong majority of Americans who want the federal government to respect states’ rights on cannabis, but we must be vigilant and make our voices heard.