Colorado’s marijuana czar warns of possible Trump enforcement

Colorado’s top marijuana regulator is sounding the alarm bells that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration could crack down on the state’s cannabis industry, warning such a move could throw thousands out of work and shutter many businesses.

“I think there’s very good reason to be concerned,” Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s director of marijuana coordination, told the Denver CBS affiliate. “It could become an enforcement priority overnight.”

It would be impossible to make adult-use marijuana illegal in Colorado because it’s in the state constitution. But federal authorities could render state law moot by issuing cease-and-desist orders against the governor and state regulators to halt Colorado’s seed-to-sale tracking system, Freedman said. The state also could be forced to stop granting marijuana business licenses.

“We’d no longer have state oversight of what’s going on,” Freedman told CBS 4, adding the situation could lead to at least 15,000 lost jobs and legal companies being forced out of business.

How would Gov. John Hickenlooper respond?

“I think the governor would be interested in making sure, to what extent he could be helpful at the table to – and again not as a pro-legalization – but even saying this is a very difficult thing to unwind and if you unwind it you might see a lot of unintended consequences along the way.”

While Trump’s pick for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a vehement marijuana opponent, Congress could counter a crackdown with legislation.

For example, Congress in 2014 passed the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibits federal authorities from spending federal dollars to interfere with state medical marijuana programs. That same amendment currently is likely to be renewed by Congress, but the U.S. Senate must approve a spending bill to keep those protections in place until at least April 28.

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10 comments on “Colorado’s marijuana czar warns of possible Trump enforcement
  1. Eric on

    Is it or isn’t it legal to smoke mj?
    Is it or isn’t it legal to sell from a compliant dispensary?

    The gov’t shouldn’t swoop in and crush the industry.

    • Chas on

      The libs, like Freedman, almost always “fear” anything conservative, from the founders documents to smaller government today.
      They want bigger gov.
      They are the origins of “fake news”

      • Roc on

        Haha, anyone whose political party counts talk radio, Breibart and Fox News as the pillars of their journalism should never, EVER bring up the subject of “fake news” in public. And since you choose to bring up the “founders documents” you might do well to remind yourself that Conservatives of the time of the founding of this country were Loyalists beholden to the British Crown while the founders, those patriots you folks love to invoke were in a very real sense the Liberal elite of the day!

  2. Sean Murphy on

    Andrew Freedman is saying the right things to hedge his government appointed position. Key words = “could become”. Industry insiders in Colorado wouldn’t be so quick to agree with this. Either way, CBD/Hemp companies are excited to be under Ag licenses not MED controlled MJ licenses.

    Sean Murphy
    Founder & Publisher
    Hemp Business Journal

  3. Paul Sorensen on

    The big players in the mj industry need to unite to present a formidable arguement to the house and senate.
    And we, the mj consumers need to
    contact our legislators and demand that
    they protect state’s rights.

  4. PeterK on

    Trump has always said he’s a states’ rights advocate. So, it would go against his states’ rights preachings. He’s also said he’s going to bring good jobs to “make America great again.” If he allows Sessions to pull the rug out, he’s cutting 15,000 or more…and I believe many more…jobs. So states’ rights and jobs…oh yeah, and tax revenue.

  5. Mike Parent on

    IOWs he’ll be handing over a billion dollar business to the blackmarket and deny the state hundreds of millions in taxes and fees
    So much for small government, states rights GOPers

  6. Tim on

    This is what happens when the electorate is bamboozled into voting against their own best interest. When someone contradicts themselves within the same sentence like this man does, can you really be surprised that he would appoint anti cannabis people to his cabinet? Like it or not the cannabis industry is in great jeopardy. These appointees don’t care about states rights, jobs or tax revenues. Take some time and read their positions on the wide variety of issues that they have spoke on and it becomes obvious how they will govern. The revenues and jobs from cannabis don’t hold a candle to the revenues and jobs from the prison industry. Maybe you weren’t paying attention but cannabis is still federally prohibited and carries lengthy mandatory minimums. So which industry do you think they are going to opt for? Do you really think this man is going to appoint a cannabis friendly justice to the supreme court? So there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the future of the cannabis industry. The reality is that this is what the people wanted, otherwise they would have thought it through more than they did. My suggestion to the cannabis industry is to dust off that plan B because plan A is on uncertain ground.

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