Attorney General Jeff Sessions put recreational cannabis states on edge with his recent comments on the Schedule 1 substance, spurring Republican lawmakers to come to the defense of states’ rights in a big way.
Colorado State Attorney General extends an invitation to Sessions to head out West, to show him what an adult-use state really looks like.
In a recent morning meeting with Sessions, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says she offered him an insider’s look at how a successful recreational cannabis industry is currently operating.
Coffman, a Republican, told The Denver Post, “I thought it was important to come to the states that have legalized marijuana, particularly Colorado since we have the longest history, and to see what we have done.”
Colorado boasts the oldest recreational cannabis industry, and the highest sales. State revenue and tax division data reveal that Colorado sold a billion dollars’ worth of the plant in the first ten months of 2016 alone.
Coffman was in Washington, D.C. for a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.
“They indicated an interest in doing that,” she said.
The invite comes days after the newly confirmed Attorney General had the following to say about cannabis to reporters, at the Department of Justice:
“I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” he said. “States they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”
His words have most of the cannabis industry worried, but Senators like Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) say they have been assured that Sessions’ will leave it up to the states.
“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things,” says Sen. Paul, “And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not the [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention,” reports Politico.
As far as Sen. Gardner is concerned, following the comments from the Trump cabinet, “Nothing at this point has changed.”
Gardner adds, “He was talking about if there’s cartels involved in illegal operations, they’re going to crack down on that,” reports Politico. “That’s what everybody’s saying. I still haven’t heard Jeff Sessions say that there’s a big policy change coming. We obviously want to make sure we’re clear on what they’ve said.”
Alaska’s Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, remains cautiously optimistic. She says, “It’s probably a little premature to try to predict what may or may not be coming out of the administration on this, so I think we just need to sit back and see.”
Senators Murkowski and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) just submitted a letter to Attorney General Sessions, in which they ask the Trump administration to uphold the Cole memo to allow state-legal cannabis programs, as did Obama.
The letter reads, “We respectfully request that you uphold the DOJ’s existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational marijuana use.”