Federal Challenge of the Cannabis Industry

Recently, White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated that he thought that there would be greater enforcement of marijuana by federal agencies, including in states where it has been legalized by referendum. This has brought a cloud of uncertainty over the future of the cannabis industry, which has emergences as one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, with legal market sales expected to break $22 billion in 2020. Further contributing to this challenge is the fact that Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has been known to be a very vocal opponent of cannabis. However, Spicer also said that the attitude the federal government takes towards medical marijuana would be very different than the attitude it takes towards recreational marijuana. Here is some information about the federal challenge of the cannabis industry… The Cole Memo In 2013, former President Barrack Obama ordered the Department of Justice to draft a memorandum that would deprioritize the federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states that had voted for legalization, particularly recreationally. This led to Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole drafting what is now known as the Cole Memo. This changed the prioritization of what the Department of Justice would enforce around the country. President Donald Trump has shown that he is open to the idea of rescinding the Cole Memo, which would officially change the policy of the Department of Justice, when it comes to addressing recreational marijuana usage in states that have voted for legalization. Why it is unlikely to stop legalization Although one can’t say for certain whether or not the federal government would follow through on...