Jeff Sessions Recinds Cole Memo – Marijuana Enforcement

On January 4, the U. S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to all United States Attorney’s  that rescinded the Cole Memo on marijuana prosecutions, and directed federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions.  The Cole Memo, issued during the Presidency of Barack Obama directed US Attorneys to use discretion to prioritize certain types of violations in prosecuting cannabis operators.

In Colorado, Robert (Bob) C. Troyer, that state’s United States Attorney immediately responded issuing the following statement regarding marijuana prosecutions in his state:

Today the Attorney General (Jeff Sessons) rescinded the Cole Memo on marijuana prosecutions, and directed that federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed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.  The United States Attorney’s Office in Colorado has already been guided by these principles in marijuana prosecutions — focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state.  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.”

            U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, District of Colorado

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use. The new guidance threatens to upend sales by giving federal prosecutors more discretion in how they enforce federal law. 

Private attorneys from across the U. S. are strategizing on how best to prepare themselves and their cannabis business clients for a shift in priorities from the federal government regarding state’s legalization of cannabis.

State private attorneys that represent legalized cannabis businesses believe “pushing cannabis market participants into a lawful, regulated, and transparent industry is beneficial for consumers, producers, and society alike”. They intend to continue to offer their support for their clients and members of the legal cannabis community to achieve the important goal of a functional cannabis market through legal education and robust legal services. 

 

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