Despite Jeff Sessions’s tough talk on marijuana enforcement, members of the Senate are signaling strong support for state marijuana laws.
The marijuana industry has finally received some good news on the federal front. High ranking members of the U.S. Senate are coming out in defense of state marijuana laws.
A group of senators recently sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him to back off of recent threats to target state marijuana laws. The bipartisan effort is being led by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), but includes support from many other senators.
“It is essential that states that have implemented any type of practical, effective marijuana policy receive immediate assurance from the DOJ that it will respect the ability of states to enforce thoughtful, sensible drug policies in ways that do not threaten the public’s health and safety,” the senators wrote. “This ensures that state infrastructure, including tax revenue, small businesses, and jobs, can be protected; DOJ resources can be used most effectively; and most importantly, that marijuana can be properly regulated to improve public health and safety.”
Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) urged Sessions to respect the Cole Memoranda, a guideline for the Justice Department written by former Attorney General Eric Holder. The memo lays out federal priorities when enforcing marijuana laws. It also urges federal agents to refrain from interfering with state marijuana laws. “In light of recent statements regarding a possible change in federal marijuana enforcement policy and knowing your views about and deference to states’ rights, I respectfully ask that you preserve the Cole Memorandum,” Heller wrote in the letter.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said he spoke with Sessions directly and felt the attorney general would respect the will of the states.
“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things. 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,” he said, according to Politico.