Denver, CO – Governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, the first four states to control and regulate the sale of marijuana for all adults, have sent a formal letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary James Mnuchin defending their right to regulate cannabis within the borders of their states.
The letter cites the 2013 Department of Justice Cole Memorandum, which recommends state and local authorities as the primary means of addressing marijuana-related activity, as a critical building block for their states’ existing 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,” states the letter, signed by Gov. Bill Walker (AK), Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO), Gov. Kate Brown (OR) and Gov. Jay Inslee (WA). “Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences. Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”
The letter comes in the wake of recent comments made by A.G. Sessions and others in the Trump administration indicating there may be greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws under their watch. NFF believes states have the constitutionally protected right to regulate commerce within their borders under the division of powers stated in the 10th Amendment.
“71% of Americans – including majorities in both parties and every age group – oppose federal intervention in legal medical and adult use cannabis states,” said Neal Levine, Chairman of the New Federalism Fund. “The states are the laboratories of democracy. The people have spoken and clearly agree that regulating cannabis on the state level is working far better than prohibition has. We applaud the Governors of the first four states to opt out of federal cannabis prohibition for standing up for both the citizens of their states, and for the principles of Federalism.”
About New Federalism Fund
The New Federalism Fund is a non-partisan 501(c)4. Its board members and contributors are those interested in state-first regulation of state-based commerce and creating a common sense regulatory system for those who are in or serve the state-based cannabis industry.