House democrats are taking a stand against Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent decision to rescind the Cole Memo protecting state’s right to sell medical and recreational marijuana.
Yesterday eleven members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a request for a hearing to Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte. Unfortunately, Goodlatte is known as stringent conservative who has opposed the legalization of cannabis.
The recent policy change restores power to federal prosecutors to press charges against legal medical and recreational marijuana businesses. Democrats claim that this decision by the Justice department “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 new memo released by the Justice Department specifically takes aim at businesses who conduct illegal banking or money laundering. Representative Steve Cohen notes that “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.”
Rescinding protections for those involved in the legal marijuana industry could significantly hinder how cannabis retailers, cultivators, and distributors do business. Several federal prosecutors have already expressed interest in utilizing this new authority to crackdown on marijuana dispensaries.
House Representative Ted Lieu of California notes that the request for a hearing has bipartisan support. In a statement Rep. Lieu said, “It’s important for the American people to understand why Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed this very simple policy of letting states go ahead and honor the wishes of their residents in terms of legalizing marijuana and to understand the rationale for doing this. I’d like to get on the record why Attorney General Jeff Sessions believes what he believes.”
While Republicans have decided to send their own letter to President Trump asking him to honor his promise to let the states decide, it’s clear that both parties are against increased enforcement. House Representatives have insisted that the Justice Department, “pursue enforcement strategies that are sensible, effective, and enhance public safety.”