DOJ mum on status of marijuana-protecting Cole Memo

Sometimes no news can be good news.

And so far, there’s no news from the U.S. Department of Justice on potential policy changes with regard to state marijuana programs, even though July 27 was the deadline for a DOJ task force to submit recommendations on marijuana.

National cannabis advocates have been worried that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may use those recommendations as a justification to throw out or redo the 2013 Cole Memo, which helped guide state laws on both recreational and medical marijuana.

But in a news release Wednesday, Sessions said only that the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety was submitting policy recommendations “on a rolling basis.”

“I have been acting on the task force’s recommendations to set the policy of the department. I will continue to review all of the task force’s recommendations and look forward to taking additional steps,” Sessions said in the release.

The DOJ’s office of public affairs hasn’t made clear whether policy recommendations on marijuana will be made public or even commented on when or if Sessions may replace the Cole Memo.

In a memo of its own, Americans for Safe Access urged the attorney general to keep the Cole Memo intact and identified dozens of laws that have been passed by state legislatures since 2013 with the aim of adhering to the policies outlined in the Cole Memo.

In a related development, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday added language from the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the upper chamber’s appropriations bill.

However, the marijuana safeguard still must survive a possible conference committee if it’s not added to a House appropriations bill before the end of September.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment protects medical marijuana businesses and state laws from the DOJ.

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