The rescission of the Cole memorandum by US Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is no surprise. Sessions is the last standing advocate of the widely discredited, unscientific Reefer Madness approach to cannabis policy.
However, chances are remote that Sessions’ action will significantly impact the legal cannabis industry. All the rescission does is affirm the existing power of US Attorneys to exercise prosecutorial discretion as regards state-licensed cannabis businesses— and it is highly unlikely they will they will choose to target those businesses.
A key part of every US Attorneys’ duties is to survey the totality of federal crimes happening in their district, and prioritize enforcement of those crimes according to their impact on public safety.
I think it is highly unlikely that US Attorneys will decide that legal, licensed, tax-paying cannabis businesses are their highest enforcement priority. Anybody residing in a reform state knows first hand that legalization enhances public safety by disempowering criminal cartels, raising hundreds of millions of tax dollars, and freeing police to focus on real crimes. At the same time, the nation is being swamped by an opioid crisis that is the largest killer of young people, and has reduced the overall longevity of Americans for the first time in decades. It’s difficult to imagine that a US Attorney would decide to spend limited law enforcement dollars targeting legal, licensed cannabis businesses instead of illegal opioid dealers.
There will be no change to the operations of Harborside. Every day, I instruct my employees to scrupulously observe California’s laws and regulations regarding cannabis. We did that yesterday, we are doing that today, and we will continue to do it tomorrow and well into the future.