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Industry, Advocates, Lawmakers React to Cole Memo Rescission

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While attorneys who represent cannabis businesses voiced distaste for Sessions’s move, many cautioned against panic and advised the industry to “wait and see.”

“It is important to note that while the Attorney General has this morning replaced the Cole Memorandum with the prosecutorial discretion of individual U.S Attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized by the will of the people in those states, at least one Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee has already publicly stated that he intends to hold up confirmation of President Trump’s nominees for those Justice Department posts in light of today’s announcement from the Justice Department,” said attorney Bradley Blommer of Green Light Law Group in Portland, Oregon. “For now, we all need to understand that this does not signal the end of the medical or legal cannabis industry … and that licensed cannabis businesses continue to be protected under state laws and to some extent, the U.S. Constitution.”

His colleague, Perry N. Salzhauer, added, “While we can expect a slight chill in investment into marijuana businesses in the short term, we really need to wait and see whether today’s rescission will be followed up with any actual new policy directives from Mr. Sessions’s office to the individual U.S. Attorneys, and how those, if any are issued, are implemented before we really understand the full scope of today’s announcement.

“Keep in mind that while today’s memo from the AG rescinds the 2013 Cole Memo, it does not direct the Criminal Division at the main U.S. Justice Department and [Drug Enforcement Administration] Headquarters to begin a new campaign to prosecute legal state marijuana businesses,” Salzhauer continued. “The reality today is that each state needs to look to its own U.S. Attorney for guidance, and given that most U.S. Attorneys have political ambitions, many may be reluctant to buck public opinion, which is overwhelmingly in favor of legalized and regulated marijuana.”

Read the full article here.