Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the “Cole Memorandum,” the Obama-era guidance by the Department of Justice that has allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws with limited federal interference.
This is a nightmare that will allow Sessions’ Justice Department to wreak havoc in states that have legalized marijuana.
Over the next two weeks during appropriations negotiations, Congress can and must put the brakes on Sessions’ destructive agenda by limiting the Justice Department’s ability to undermine states’ decision-making.
Since 2014, Congress has approved the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment to stop the Justice Department from interfering in medical marijuana states, but the Cole memo was the only thing protecting non-medical marijuana legalization.
Now it’s time for Congress to prevent federal interference in all states that have legalized marijuana.
If Congress doesn’t act now, businesses and consumers in every state that has legalized marijuana will be at risk of harassment and prosecution by the federal government. It’s no coincidence that Sessions released this news just days after legal marijuana sales began in California.
Rescinding the Cole memo is not just an attack on sensible marijuana policies — it’s an attack on civil and human rights. Police have long relied on the suspicion of minor marijuana offenses to profile, harass, arrest and even lock up massive numbers of people, especially in communities of color.
We won’t stand by and let Sessions roll back our progress on marijuana legalization. Stand with us and help us block this alarming attempt to escalate the war on drugs.