Report: DOJ gathering intel on state marijuana cases

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(Note: This story was updated April 3.)

The Department of Justice is apparently gathering information from at least the Colorado attorney general’s office regarding criminal marijuana investigations.

A records request filed with the DOJ by the International Business Times yielded an email from a Drug Enforcement Administration official to Michael Melito, a lawyer with the Colorado attorney general’s office, in which the DEA agent requested information about specific Colorado cannabis cases.

“Some of our intel people are trying to track down info regarding some of the DEA’s better marijuana investigations for the new administration,” the agent wrote to Melito. “Hopefully it will lead to some positive changes.”

Much of the email was redacted, but left intact was the mention of “Golden Gopher,” which could be a reference to Operation Golden Gofer, a drug smuggling operation between Colorado and Minnesota, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. There was also a mention of “Texas THC,” which could be another criminal case investigated by the Colorado attorney general’s office.

The International Business Times story incorrectly reported that aides of President Trump had “publicly promised a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana.”

In fact, no such promise has been made by any Trump official. And the IBT story has been changed since it was first posted and now reports that Trump aides “have publicly threatened” a crackdown. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Feb. 23, “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly said he is personally opposed to legalization.

But neither Spicer nor Sessions has expressly said a federal crackdown is coming for the eight states that have legalized adult-use marijuana. If anything, Sessions has indicated a widespread crackdown is unlikely, but it is possible DEA enforcement efforts may change or become more targeted toward illegal interstate MJ traffickers.

In an email to Marijuana Business Daily, a spokeswoman for the Colorado attorney general’s office wrote, “It appears that the reporter who wrote this story took the email completely out of context, and made his own assumptions about its meaning. Our office has a long standing relationship with the DEA, as it is our role to prosecute illegal drug cases.

“The change in administration at the federal level has not changed that relationship. This email was clearly discussing current criminal cases not policy.”