Cannabis Industry Insiders Take Sessions To Task For Threatening Marijuana Crackdown
January 6, 2018 | James McClure
Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent shockwaves through states that have legalized recreational marijuana last Thursday when he rescinded the Department of Justice directive that protected those states from federal prosecution. But the industry wasn’t dumbstruck for long. Key members have spoken out against Sessions, offering their take on the controversial move and what to expect next.
Here’s what they have to say.
This was not unexpected
Bradley Blommer, a litigation and real-estate attorney for the Oregon-based cannabis law firm Green Light Law Group, says that Sessions’ move was not unexpected. Nor is the strong resistance to the threat of a nationwide crackdown, which could blow up in the attorney general’s face.
“While today’s announcement by Jeff Sessions is both irrational and against the wishes of a majority of the American people, it is also not entirely unexpected,” Blommer wrote in a statement for Civilized. “It is important to note that while the Attorney General has replaced the Cole Memorandum with the prosecutorial discretion of individual U.S Attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized by the will of the people in those states, at least one Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Colorado Senator Cory Gardner) has already publicly stated that he intends to hold up confirmation of President Trump’s nominees for those Justice Department posts in light of Thursday’s announcement from the Justice Department.
A crackdown on cannabis isn’t underway, and may never happen
Perry N. Salzhauer, a corporate and environmental attorney for Green Light Law Group, stresses that we should remain calm while waiting to see what Sessions does next. Rescinding the Cole Memo doesn’t necessarily mean a crackdown is imminent. Right now, the issue rests with individual U.S. Attorneys, who are conscious of the fact that their political careers could suffer tremendously if they pursue an unpopular crackdown on marijuana.
U.S. Attorneys have a tough decision ahead
It’s not a good day to be a U.S. Attorney, according to Mason Walker, CEO of the Oregon-based CBD producer East Fork Cultivars, who says federal law enforcers will have to make a tough decision to back the will of the people or the special interests of politicians like Sessions.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to rescind the Cole Memo is an unfortunate blow to the progress the cannabis industry has made towards ending the destructive and demeaning War on Drugs,” Walker wrote in a statement for Civilized. “The U.S. is ready for legal, regulated cannabis, and this move serves to undermine the will of the people. Our fate now lies in part in the hands of U.S. Attorneys, who have an important choice to make: turn back the clock and embolden the illegal market; or look forward, and protect health and human rights by providing safe access for adults.”
The Trump administration’s legacy is on the line
We don’t know what step Sessions plans to take next regarding marijuana, but we do know that it will impact the progress of the legalization movement as well as the legacy of the Trump administration, according to Sabrena Peterson — Director of Sales and Marketing for the Oregon-based vaporizer producer RĒL Vape.
“Setting aside the will of the voters who approved medical and recreational use throughout the country and the billions of dollars that states stand to collect in tax revenues from the cannabis industry, rescinding Cole guidance runs contrary to this administration’s agenda of job creation, smaller government, states’ rights and deregulation,” Peterson wrote in a statement for Civilized.