The governors of the first four states to legalize a taxed and regulated cannabis market have fired off a letter to members of the Trump Administration in hopes of persuading the government’s law enforcement hammer not to impose a federal crackdown on legal weed.
The letter, which was specifically addressed to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, asks for the new administration to respect state marijuana laws by maintaining the intentions of the memo designed by President Obama’s Justice Department that allows legal weed to happen without federal interference.
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“As governors of states that have legalized marijuana in some form, we ask the Trump Administration to engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems,” the letter signed by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Insle reads. “The balance struck by the 2013 Department of Justice Cole Memorandum (Cole Memo) has been indispensable ― providing the necessary framework for state regulatory programs centered on public safety and health protections.”
The governors’ letter calls for the new administration to do as they were forced to do and give legal marijuana a chance.
“We understand you and others in the administration have some concerns regarding marijuana,” the letter continues. “We sympathize, as many of us expressed apprehensions before our states adopted current laws. As governors, we have committed to implementing the will of our citizens and have worked cooperatively with our legislatures to establish robust regulatory structures that prioritize public health and public safety, reduce inequitable incarceration and expand our economies.”
Over the past several weeks, Attorney General Sessions has alluded that one of his primary missions with respect to the drug problem in the United States is to put a stop to cartel activity.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, who applauded the governors for their brass balls attempt at keeping prohibition in the rearview, says the only way for Sessions to truly accomplish this goal is to continue to allow the existence of legal weed.
“There is no denying that regulated cannabis businesses are preferable to underground markets dominated by gangs and cartels,” he told the Huffington Post. “The regulated markets are creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and taking marijuana sales off the streets. The Trump Administration should be working with the states to ensure the regulated markets are functioning properly and safely, not working against the states to shut them down.”
Last week, Governor Hickenlooper, who now has three years experience running a state with a legal pot trade, said he “would argue to the attorney general that the country has potential benefit to be able to see this experiment through to a natural conclusion.” The governor, who opposed legalization prior to the passing of Amendment 64, continued by saying, “Let’s go a couple more years and see and get more data and really see, “Are we worse off or better off than we were before?’”
As it stands, twenty-eight states have legalized the leaf for either medicinal or recreational use, with some of the latest national polls showing that most Americans (consistently around 60 percent) believe the time has come for the federal government to handle pot in the same way they do with alcohol and tobacco. But so far, the current administration continues to lean on propaganda and alternative facts to base their stance on the issue.
Still, the Trump Administration has yet to say whether it will impose a crackdown or if it will allow the cannabis industry to continue its business unscathed for the next four years.
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