State officials critical of shift in federal pot policy

Marie Harrington
January 7, 2018

He was miffed. He was, as the twitterverse had it, lit. "We will, consistent with the Attorney General's latest guidance, continue to take this approach in all of our work with our law enforcement partners throughout Colorado".

Make no mistake: As we have told the Department of Justice ever since I-502 was passed in 2012, we will vigorously defend our state's laws against undue federal infringement. He was a man betrayed and he showed it.

Marijuana-related stocks plummeted, cannabis boosters anxious about the industry's future and defiant growers and sellers vowed to keep operating after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled a tougher approach Thursday to federal pot enforcement. In The Washington Post, he was called a model for Republican dissent in the time of Trump (in other words, a sometimes-dissenting Republican who opposed Roy Moore and who doesn't call Trump's kids traitors or call Trump himself a bleeping moron). "I think we are at a point in time where we're not going to go back, in terms of outlawing recreational cannabis in states it's been approved or outlawing medical cannabis in states it's been approved". This is an issue about which Colorado voters have made themselves more than clear.

One of the first pot shops licensed to sell recreational marijuana in California is stocking up to ring in the new year - and the new opportunity. Lindsey Graham of SC in working heavily with Democrats to pursue a deal on immigration - and has stood apart from his party leadership in supporting Graham and Democratic Sen.

While Floridas fledgling medical marijuana market, with all its stops and starts, may not be a high-profile target, Sessions announcement could have a chilling effect on the industrys growth in the state, said Ben Pollara, executive director of marijuana advocacy organization Florida for Care and one of the authors of the medical marijuana amendment.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that he is rescinding what's known as the "Cole memorandum".

Another of California's largest marijuana operators said it also plans no changes in response to Sessions' announcement. To understand how absurd that is, you should note that cocaine and meth are Schedule 2. Former Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 published a memo saying the federal government basically let states decide for themselves whether to legalize marijuana.

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"I'm reaching out to other local elected officials across the state and across the country to organize a bipartisan effort to respond and to have our voices heard", Pace said. But Coloradans did vote for legalization and, as Gardner pointed out, would overwhelmingly vote for it again.

Gardner demanded to know why Trump and Sessions had changed their minds. I guess that changed.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the longstanding federal policy permitting states to legalize recreational pot, placing thousands of marijuana businesses in California and other states operating legally under state law at risk to federal raids and seizures. I'm thinking Sessions saw this as an opportunity to persuade Trump that cracking down on the devil weed was a flawless way to harass Jerry Brown and team.

Shares of garden-supply company Scotts Miracle-Gro also skidded Thursday, following a steady rise previous year after it added fertilizer, lights and other products to serve marijuana growers.

Of course, if it was politics, it was not the smartest ploy.

"Many providers of cannabis products grow for both medical and recreational so it would be very hard to for the DOJ to crack down without affecting patients", Collins, Americans for Safe Access. "When you wipe away with the stigma, we're working hand-in-hand with our government to create a functioning system".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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