The Attorney General letter sent to the Governor of Colorado referencing a report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area agency did not come as a surprise because similar letters have been sent to other states. Jeff Sessions is biased against marijuana, however if the report is accurate then Colorado does have some work to do. The report may be taking information out of context, but one way or another, Jeff Sessions is still very focused on states that have legalized marijuana. Are you comfortable with Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is questioning the efficacy of marijuana regulatory structures in Colorado in a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper obtained by The Cannabist.
The letter dated July 24 arrived at the Colorado Capitol late Thursday, officials said. In it, Sessions cited data from a September 2016 report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a federally funded agency operated out of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. The report claimed increases in highway patrol seizures, youth use, traffic deaths and emergency department visits since Colorado legalized adult-use sales of cannabis in 2014, according to the letter.
Closing out the letter, Sessions wrote:
“These findings are relevant to the policy debate concerning marijuana legalization. I appreciate your offer to engage in a continuing dialogue on this important issue. To that end, please advise as to how Colorado plans to address the serious findings in the Rocky Mountain HIDTA report, including efforts to ensure that all marijuana activity is compliant with state marijuana laws, to combat diversion of marijuana, to protect public health and safety, and to prevent marijuana use by minors. I also am open to suggestions on marijuana policy and related matters as we work to carry out our duties to effectively and faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”
The letter’s structure and message were nearly identical to that of a separate letter Sessions sent to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a correspondence that the Huffington Post obtained and reported late Thursday evening.
Notable passages in both letters highlight where Sessions sees flexibility for federal enforcement actions under the 2013 Cole Memorandum — Obama-era guidance for how prosecutors and law enforcement could prioritize their marijuana-related enforcement efforts.
The letters are a response to an April 3 letter from Hickenlooper and the governors of Alaska, Oregon and Washington, that implored the attorney general and treasury secretary to “engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems.”
“The Department remains committed to enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in a manner that efficiently applies our resources to address the most significant threats to public health and safety,” Sessions wrote in his response. “I look forward to working with you on these issues.”