A panic was set within the marijuana industry and community at large this year when comments made by press secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions caused a stir. They independently indicated that there may be a crackdown on recreational marijuana, expressing disdain towards the plant and its use. As a result of these comments, lawmakers across the country took notice, writing bills that would serve to protect business owners and marijuana consumers from federal interference. Some lawmakers kicked up the gears and even wrote proposals that would ultimately lead to the legalization of marijuana.
The Initial Looming Threat of Sessions
In states such as Colorado, where the recreational marijuana industry is booming, Sessions words caused distress. A bill that would have allowed social smoking was put on hold due to fear from Gov. John Hickenlooper that it would cause the federal government to pay attention to the recreational market in Colorado. After months of general anxiety and concern, Hickenlooper had a face to face meeting with Sessions to get a clear sense of what the Trump administration planned to do. During the election Trump claimed that his administration would allow states to decide on marijuana law but with long time oppositionist Jeff Sessions serving as Attorney General, Hickenlooper and many others had concerns.
“Not Too Far Off” from the Cole Memo
After the meeting, Hickenlooper’s fears were quelled somewhat saying that he didn’t believe there was any intention from the administration to crack down on marijuana. The Cole Memo was a signature of the Obama administration’s policy on marijuana which allowed states to set their own rules without federal interference. “Sessions said he is reviewing the Cole memo and said that ‘it is not too far from good policy,’” Jacque Montgomery, press secretary for Hickenlooper told the Huffington Post. “But we do expect some revisions, so we’ll wait to hear back on that.”
Bigger Fish to Fry
While Sessions made it clear to Hickenlooper that he is firmly against drugs in every form, he is not necessarily planning to put the marijuana industry out of business. That is unless you’re operating an illegal operation. Hickenlooper was given the distinct impression that Sessions’ main focus when it came to marijuana was to go after cartel-like operations. Especially after Sessions told Hickenlooper that he has bigger fish to fry, so to speak, when it comes to cracking down on drugs. His bigger concerns are heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.
For the time being, it seems to be business as usual for the marijuana industry. The Trump administration has shown support for medical marijuana and its uses so, despite a general nervousness, there was no direct threat against this market. As for recreational marijuana, this was the industry under fire. Now that fears of a crackdown have been put to rest for the immediate future, lawmakers can continue to focus on progress and movement forward. This is good for California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts who just legalized recreational marijuana last November, joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and D.C. in having a legal marijuana industry. It also allows other states such as Rhode Island, to legalize marijuana without fear.