Sessions Memorandum Sends Shockwaves Through Cannabis Industry

January 5, 2018

By: Tara L. Tedrow

On January 4, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum (the “Sessions Memo”) on marijuana enforcement which rescinded the existing Obama-era Cole Memorandum. The Cole Memorandum essentially established a hands off approach as to the federal prosecution of those legally operating under state approved marijuana regulations. The Cole Memorandum did not provide the marijuana industry with immunity or definitive protection from federal prosecution. Rather, the Cole Memorandum provided guidance to U.S. prosecutors by establishing suggested parameters for prosecutorial discretion regarding marijuana related crimes. Though the Sessions Memo clearly stated that the Cole Memorandum era was over, it did not set forth new guidance on federal enforcement against marijuana related crimes. While the Sessions Memo has sent shockwaves nationwide, it is unclear what the immediate or long-term impact will be for the marijuana industry.

For a full link to the Sessions Memo issued yesterday, visit: https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1022196/download