Despite ominous, if vague, signals of disapproval from the federal government, the legal cannabis industry is widely expected to continue growing at a breakneck speed. Regardless of a scare in January after Jeff Sessions revoked the Cole Memo and its tentative protections for state-legal cannabis operations, all other signs point to a continued rise in the social and political acceptability of cannabis use. In turn, this will keep the space open for the industry’s unprecedented economic boom to continue. It may simply be a matter of keeping operators and investors from panicking until the wider tidal wave of pro-cannabis sentiment drowns out voices like Sessions and his ilk.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to revoke the Obama-era Cole Memo could be his most substantial policy attack on legal cannabis yet, after a year of somewhat mixed signals on the issue. And indeed, it removes an important set of Justice Department guidelines for a rational approach to cannabis enforcement. This move has signaled to states and industry players that the time has come to institute a new way to handle cannabis questions.
A new open letter from four governors makes a case to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to maintain existing guidelines on the enforcement of federal cannabis law. The Governors ask the two cabinet members to “engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems.”