Now that Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Cole Memo many are questioning what’s next for the cannabis industry. Michael Chernis of CNN says Sessions’ announcement didn’t actually say there would be a crackdown on cannabis businesses, but that it would be left to the discretion of local U.S. attorneys in various districts.
Josh Gerstein and Cristiano Lima of Politico says Colorado’s U.S. attorney Bob Troyer announced his office won’t change its approach to prosecuting marijuana crimes. Also, they say Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska denounced the plan on Thursday after it was first reported by The Associated Press.
James Higdon of Politico says as of late Friday, the magazine could not find a single member of Congress who has issued a statement in support of Sessions’ actions.
This could mean that Sessions’ announcement won’t negatively affect the cannabis industry. In fact, Paul Waldman of The Washington Post says he believes the end result could accelerate the liberalization of the nation’s marijuana laws. Waldman says, “A backlash could help more Democrats get elected, and push elected Democrats to more unambiguously support legalization.”
Waldman continues by saying that we shouldn’t be surprised if every Democrat running for President in 2020 favors ending the federal prohibition on marijuana and returning the question to the states. He says that one Senator, Cory Booker, has already introduced a bill doing just that.
CEO of Eco Firma Farms in Oregon Jesse Peters says, “The announcement from Jeff Sessions threw shock waves through the industry, but as the smoke clears, it’s evidence this may be the boost we needed.” Peters says he believes Sessions’ announcement will force Congress to act, which will cause them to craft legislation protecting the cannabis industry and in turn, end prohibition more quickly.
Overall, as Chernis says, this could be the ultimate irony for Sessions’ move.