Marijuana business leaders are now waiting to see if the memo might be re-instated with an omnibus spending bill, but that will only guarantee protections for less than a year.
On January 4, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memorandum to all U.S. Attorneys rescinding the Obama-era policy known as the Cole Memorandum. Banking, which is regulated by both the states as well as the federal government, has had no assurances that federal enforcement of banks and credit unions which accept funds from the sale of marijuana would be exempt from prosecution. These included distribution to minors, diversion of revenue to criminal gangs and using cannabis as a cover for other illegal drug activities. The American people overwhelmingly support the legalization of marijuana and oppose federal intervention in state marijuana laws by even wider margin. Passed in 2014, the amendment barred the DOJ from using federal monies or resources to take any enforcement action again medical marijuana.
Legal experts do not expect a flood of new cases, and people familiar with the job of USA attorney say prosecutors could decide against using already limited resources to seek criminal charges against cannabis companies that abide by state regulations or their customers.
2018 was poised to be the year of marijuana with Oklahoma, Kentucky, South Dakota, Utah, and Missouri addressing the legalization of medical marijuana, while Vermont, New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and OH set sights on the recreational marijuana legalization debate. He later became a career state and federal prosecutor who has spoken favorably of a previous federal marijuana crackdown.
Before the Obama administration's announcement, states felt more risk in advancing laws to allow recreational or medical use of cannabis, which is classified under federal law as a unsafe drug. It is now hardly considered extreme, for either the Democrats or Republicans, for politicians to suggest that adults should be able to make their own choices regarding whether or not they smoke marijuana. He said Congress should declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 risky drug.
An increasing number of states, meanwhile, have legalized marijuana.
Costello is a cosponsor of the Veterans Equal Access Act, legislation that would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow VA health providers to provide feedback and recommendations about participating in the veteran's state's medical marijuana program.
In the past decade medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Sessions' announcement comes as patients in Pennsylvania are just months away from being able to purchase medical marijuana products.
Currently, most states allow medical use. Your help is needed TODAY, to save marijuana policy reform from the Trump administration.
The most Sessions' move does is keep him solid with the extreme conservative Southern base from which he arose.
Moen noted Sessions' action doesn't change federal law, which includes a congressional provision barring authorities from spending federal money to prosecute medical marijuana operations that abide by state laws.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he and his office is prepared to fight to defend his state's laws although there is no specific enforcement from the Department of Justice to fight just yet.
Another speed bump is the fact that because pot remains illegal federally - and, thanks to Sessions' announcement last Thursday, its use is again prosecutable - banks are refusing to do business with cannabis retailers, meaning sellers can not accept credit cards. "It's going to dry up a lot of the institutional investment that has gone toward marijuana in the last five years".