Concerned over the rapid influx of anti-pot sentiments coming from members of the Trump administration, the cannabis-legal states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska just wrote a pro-pot letter to anti-pot Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
In the letter, the governors asked the federal government to keep cannabis legal in the states which voted for legalization reforms. The letter begins: “We understand you and others in the administration have some concerns regarding marijuana…”
They also highlighted that they want the federal government to stay out of their pot businesses, warning the Trump administration not to crack down on cannabusinesses within their borders.
“As governors, we have committed to implementing the will of our citizens and have worked cooperatively with our legislatures to establish robust regulatory structures that prioritize public health and public safety, reduce inequitable incarceration and expand our economies,” the letter explains.
The letter was signed by Governors John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Jay Inslee (D-WA), Kate Brown (D-OR) and Bill Walker (I-AK). Together, they are the elected officials representing the first four states that voted to allow the use of recreational cannabis.
The Cole memo
At the core of the letter was the issue of the Cole Memorandum. The memo was previously issued by then-President Obama in 2013. More commonly known as the Cole Memo, the document says that the Department of Justice would place state-compliant violators of the federal laws against cannabis as a “low priority” when it comes to enforcement.
Most agree that Sessions could re-write the Cole Memo, which would redirect the DOJ to crack down on any cannabis operation – even if they are following state laws.
Sessions has said a few negative comments on cannabis thus far, instilling fear in already anxious cannabis business operators.
Meanwhile, in a more recent development, the Justice Department contacted officials in Colorado to gather information on cannabis cases, the International Business Times reported. Justice Department officials are saying they hope it will lead to “positive changes” for the “new administration”.
The future of cannabis
The governors expressed understanding when it comes to DC conservatives hesitating to back pot. “We sympathize, as many of us expressed apprehensions before our states adopted current laws,” they wrote.
“We look forward to working with you and your administration. We stand ready to have further discussion on how these important federal policies work in our states,” the governors concluded.
On the medical front, the 5th Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington D.C. brought together medical professionals and advocacy experts to secure the plants place in modern medicine. The conference brings together executives, experts and scientists for panel discussions focusing on new developments in medical cannabis research. This year, the ASA conference focuses on the creation of common-sense policies and approaches to safe medical cannabis access and use.