ATTORNEY GENERAL CHANGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S EMPHASIS ON ENFORCEMENT OF CANNABIS LAWS

ATTORNEY GENERAL CHANGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S EMPHASIS ON ENFORCEMENT OF CANNABIS LAWS
May 29, 2017 Cal Waters

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resolved the question of which direction the Trump administration would take in the growing trend of acceptance of medical and/or recreational use of cannabis.

Recently, the Attorney General issued an order that all federal prosecutors were to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties.

This effectively did away with The Cole Memorandum issued by the Obama Department of Justice’s Attorney General James M. Cole. His memorandum had called for the setting of priorities in enforcement that allowed states some flexibility in the enforcement of federal laws.

While this will have the immediate effect of tying judges’ hands with respect to sentencing and increasing prison populations, this is far from the end of this story.

To date, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of the use of medical and/or recreational cannabis.

Many municipalities and states have recognized the substantial revenue potential to be gained from legalizing cannabis.

In addition, a growing number of voters have made clear their acceptance of cannabis and their representatives are taking note.

And, Mr. Sessions himself is facing some daunting issues.

In March, when it became known that he had not been truthful in his testimony to the senate regarding his contact with the Russians during the Trump campaign, there were calls for his resignation.

Recently, with the discovery of his participation in the firing of FBI Director James Comey after his declaration that he would recuse himself from the Russian collusion investigation, he now faces the possibility of impeachment.

The cannabis industry remains in flux as it digests this latest turn but no one is predicting its demise any time soon.    

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