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54 Bipartisan Members of Congress Urge Trump to Revive Cole Memo

January 25, 2018
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump said cannabis legalization should be left to the states. “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” he said in October 2015. “I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

With the threat of a federal crackdown looming, a bipartisan group of congressional representatives is now urging the president to stand by his own words. “We trust you still hold this belief,” the group, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) wrote this week in letter to the White House.

It's the latest in a growing number of actions by members of Congress to defend and support state cannabis laws.

That letter, signed by 54 members of the US Senate and House and sent Thursday, calls on Trump to direct US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reinstate the Cole memo, a Justice Department policy that urged prosecutors not to interfere in legal-cannabis states. Sessions rescinded the Obama-era memo earlier this month.

That rescission, wrote federal lawmakers, “puts jobs, small businesses, state infrastructure, consumers, minorities, and patients at risk. This action has the potential to unravel efforts to build sensible drug policies that encourage economic development as we are finally moving away from antiquated practices that have hurt disadvantaged communities.”


Pro-Cannabis Trump Voters Feeling Betrayed After Sessions Move

In place of the Cole memo, the attorney general’s new directive stresses that “marijuana activity is a serious crime” and leaves it to individual US attorneys to decide whether to bring charges in legal states. “This new guidance,” wrote the group of lawmakers, “will have a chilling effect across the country in states that have worked tirelessly to implement voter-approved laws, creating legal and economic uncertainty.”

The letter is the latest in a growing number of actions by members of Congress to defend and support state cannabis laws.

Federal Lawmakers Urge Trump to Revive Cole Memo by Ben Adlin on Scribd

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Ben Adlin

Ben Adlin is a Seattle-based writer and editor who specializes in cannabis politics and law. He was a news editor for Leafly from 2015-2019. Follow him on Twitter: @badlin

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  • DonR

    Mr. Trump: 1. Read letter. 2. Reinstate Cole memo 3. Fire Jeff Sessions. Seems simple enough to me.

    • lovingc

      Unless you want seventeen more years of Trumpian idiocy you don’t want Jeffy fired yet. He is what is keeping Trump from successfully firing Mueller.

  • golfmage

    Dumb political stunt. The Cole memo only perpetuates the Federalism conflict because it tries and fails to reconcile the dissonance of Federal Prohibition with state laws and regulations. Better if Congress enacts legislation to put a FINAL END the injustice of the Controlled Substances Act “AS APPLIED” to marijuana. The Better Way: 1. Congress pass #HB4815, #HB1227, #SB975, and/or #SB1689. 2. Trump sign the bill. More and more conservatives are seeing the unconstitutionality of Prohibition. If liberals would use their brains, there is a bi-partisan path to legalization

    • The Cole memo, DACA, etc just kick the can down the road. It’s about time Elizabeth Warren and the rest of our wimpy Congress stick there necks out and put forth a bill that will legalize cannabis. Everybody needs to quit blaming Trump and Sessions and call their delegates, congressman and tell them to get off their ass and do something. The Cole memo and DACA just keeps everybody in LImbo.

  • Duder

    Pathetic politics. Congress is, as usual, refusing to act. The Cole Memo was nothing folks. It’s simple, congress needs to get cannabis off of schedule 1, first & foremost. Our government is a sad mess of people who don’t have a modicum of leadership capability between them.

    • lovingc

      The republicans are blocking the passage of any cannabis bills, they are preventing the bills from getting a vote. Grassly Sessions,Pete not Jeffy boy. There are others but the committee chairs are the ones responsible.

  • Jeff Brown

    Congress needs to get off their ass and remove cannabis from schedule I. It was they who put it in schedule I with no good reason. Congress needs to do the will of the people and states and make cannabis reflect that it does have medical use and is safe under medical supervision.

  • gianskys

    That is what some might call a ‘ Cha-rade….no pun intended. I’ve watched Real Raids in New York, the Big Apple while this phrase_’ Not for Noting ‘ comes to play…while the interjection of 5G Wifi Tower…actually killing brains cells. ” Everyone cant have a piece of the pie if the pie is made to be a Self-Emulsifying Entity. Share and Share Alike…A Real Session don’t have stipulations.Real Recognize Real

  • lovingc

    It would be better to just change the scheduling of cannabis, rather than trust something that can be swept away by some one that is ignorant and unfortunately in a position of authority.

  • Roger Schultz

    In my opinion there are a few factors as to why marajuana is still a class 1 drug. The privatized prison system is making a ton of money incarcerating innocent marajuana users. Big pharma, who owns half of DC, doesn’t want a healthy, natural alternative to their toxic prescription drugs. There is way too much money being made by crooked politicians with illegal marajuana. Washington, our supposed government by the people for the people, knows for a fact that there are many medicinal values for cannabis, they used to distribute pre-made joints to patients. Politicians need to stop the lie and decriminalize marajuana now.