Jeff Sessions is just not making politicians on either side of the aisle, or voters, happy with his closed minded stance on legal marijuana. The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to have Rep. Bob Goodlatte hold a hearing reviewing Jeff Sessions’s decision to rollback the Cole Memo.
The Cole Memo simply advised U.S. Attorneys not to prosecute state legalized marijuana businesses or participants enrolled in a state’s legal marijuana program. It accomplished a lot without having to make major changes to legislation. It saved the federal government and taxpayers money and respected voters’ decisions to have access to legal marijuana.
The letter, signed by 11 Democrats, calls for Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, to hold a hearing of the full House Judiciary Committee to discuss the recent move by Sessions, which gives federal prosecutors more leeway to launch marijuana cases in states that have legalized the drug for medical and recreational use.
The Democrats said they fear the new Justice Department policy “will promote an inefficient use of limited taxpayer resources and subvert the will of voters who have clearly indicated a preference for legalized marijuana in their states.”
“The costs of pursuing this misguided policy both in terms of prosecution and in lives blighted by unnecessary criminal convictions are staggering, cruel and unwarranted,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee who signed the letter. He added, “As I told Jeff Sessions when he appeared before the Judiciary Committee, prosecution of marijuana has an opportunity cost, namely that resources wasted on marijuana cases aren’t being used to prosecute opioid sellers, and crack, meth and heroin dealers.”
In reality, U.S. Attorneys around the country must be terribly confused by Jeff Sessions’s letter to rescind the Cole Memo. Some attorneys in Massachusetts and Oregon have threatened their state’s legal marijuana policies while others have made reassuring statements. Was Jeff Sessions’s biased decision to rollback the Cole Memo just an attempt to send the cannabis industry into disarray?