Colorado Attorney General says marijuana businesses should carry on as usual

08 January, 2018, 04:58 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham

Instead of deferring to local laws, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will allow federal prosecutors discretion in deciding how to deal with weed.

"Today the Attorney General rescinded the Cole Memo on marijuana prosecutions, and directed that federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions", Troyer said. The Obama era guidelines gave some leeway on this point, stating that prosecutors should leave states well enough alone when it comes to legalizing marijuana, as long as these local decisions didn't interfere with federal law enforcement primary directives.

Of particular note, Sessions said, "previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately". "Attorney General Sessions has chose to use the power of the federal government to attack the ability of states to decide their own laws".

Freedman, who formerly worked as Gov. John Hickenlooper's director of marijuana coordination, said the uncertainty will make law-abiding people less likely to get involved in the market and make it harder for banks and insurance companies to justify the risk of working with marijuana businesses.

Robert Troyer, who was appointed an interim US attorney for the District of Colorado by Sessions in November, said his office's decisions regarding marijuana cases would be guided by similar principles as before: "focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state".

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"At the California Department of Justice we intend to vigorously enforce our state's laws and protect our state's interests". "Once again the Trump administration is doubling down on protecting states' rights only when they believe the state is right", Wyden said in a statement.

Another 21 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, including red states like Arkansas, which passed its ballot referendum in 2016, and Florida, which put its own measure over the top by a whopping 71 percent at the polls.

The immediate reaction to Thursday's news from the marijuana industry and some members of Congress was alarm.

The decision, which rescinds previous marijuana prosecution policies, comes just days after the State of California began legal recreation sales of marijuana on January 1.

Here's how the Sessions memo affects five areas of Colorado's legal marijuana field.

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Under the Attorney General's new memo, we have more freedom and flexibility to make decisions that make Colorado safer by prosecuting individuals and organizations for marijuana crimes that significantly threaten our community safety.

Coos County Sherriff Craig Zanni said, "This is now a federal issue related to a change of federal prosecutor's directives".

Experts say they think the multi-billion dollar business now legal in some form in a majority of states is too large to bust.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, tweeted that the issue "must be left up to the states", ran counter to what he had been previously told by Sessions and threatened to hold up confirmation of DOJ nominees.

The Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, a regular critic of legal marijuana, issued a statement advocating a federal crackdown.

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Sessions appointed Dayle Elieson, a Texas prosecutor, on Wednesday.

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