AG Sessions questions cannabis regulatory efficacy in CO, WA

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has contacted the governors of Colorado and Washington state and, using parallel language, questioned the effectiveness of state regulations designed to comply with the 2013 Cole Memo.

In letters to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, Sessions referenced reports from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which compiled information in 2016 about general effects of cannabis legalization in both states, the Denver Post reported.

The attorney general suggested the first two recreational marijuana states haven’t done an adequate job of controlling cannabis production.

“This report raises serious questions about the efficacy of marijuana ‘regulatory structures’ in your state,” Sessions wrote separately to Hickenlooper and Inslee.

Sessions further asked for recommendations from both governors on how to address findings in the reports, including ongoing diversion to the black market, an increase in cannabis use by minors in both states and marijuana-related traffic deaths.

Sessions also noted in both letters, however, that the Department of Justice retains the authority to enforce federal law, a not-so-subtle reminder that he has the power to instigate a widespread crackdown on legal cannabis businesses.

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6 comments on “AG Sessions questions cannabis regulatory efficacy in CO, WA
  1. If only... on

    There’s no way Session will crackdown on legal cannabis businesses. It would force Congress into action to repeal federal hemp and cannabis laws. In other words, please, please, Mr. Sessions, do anything you want but puhleeez don’t overplay your hand and try to shutdown the national grassroots movement legalizing cannabis. (;

    • Robert Hunt on

      You underestimate the arrows that Sessions has in his quiver. There are many ways he can crack down on cannabis without ever running afoul of Rohrabacher or Cole. What he just did is a prime example of that. He can claim that the way the states have implemented their regulatory and oversight does not conform with what Cole requires and as such, Rohrabacher does not protect. He can chip away a little at a time and if he does it will have a slow chilling effect on the growth of the industry, despite the overwhelming popularity of legalized cannabis.

  2. Mike on

    Sessons just watched reefer madness. Next he will be watching news from the 60’s and freaking about the hippies. The elf needs time to catch up to 2017.

  3. Sonny on

    Sessions must rely on the cooperation of state law enforcement; but Colorado has passed protective laws precluding that from happening. This means to me that his only enforcement option is the national guard (at the command of POTUS). That would be like the US declaring war on its own citizens. With Trump as president anything is possible.

  4. Morgan on

    Not a surprise. Colorado and Washington don’t have and never had the robust state regulation that Oregon has…and their cannabis is dirty. We need to have all cannabis and FOOD bath tested for poisons without handing over power and money to excessively greedy labs of course.

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