Trump Agreement with Colorado Senator a Positive Sign for the Cannabis Industry
The White House signals a relaxing of federal
cannabis enforcement laws in states where marijuana use has been legalized.
On April 13, 2018, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)
announced that he and President Trump have reached an agreement concerning the
protection of Colorado's substantial cannabis industry from federal prosecution
In exchange, Sen. Gardner agreed to release his hold on
nominations for U.S. Department of Justice positions.
Sen. Gardner imposed his hold in January 2018, in
response to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' revocation of the
Cole Memorandum. The memorandum, issued in 2013 by then-Attorney General
James Cole, stated that, with certain exceptions, the Justice Department would
not enforce federal marijuana prohibition in states that "legalized marijuana in
some form and ... implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement
systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of
In January, Attorney General Sessions publicly indicated
that the Cole Memorandum’s protections would no longer apply, and that United
States Attorneys were free to prosecute persons in the cannabis business,
despite compliance with state laws regulating cannabis.
Sen. Gardner reported that, in their agreement,
“President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based
legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all. Because
of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting
my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.” The agreement was
subsequently confirmed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The agreement is a significant step toward protecting
patients' rights to use medical marijuana pursuant to the Arizona Medical
Marijuana Act. Legal observers on both sides of the legalized cannabis debate
will be monitoring any Congressional action on this issue.
If you have questions concerning this development,
please contact marijuana business attorney Janet Jackim at 480-425-2616 or by email.