Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with the governor coming away with the sense that a federal crackdown on state-approved legal cannabis programs is not on the horizon, the Denver Post reports. According to Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff Doug Friednash, Sessions is more focused on other priorities, such as the proposed border wall, than he is with legal cannabis markets.
Friednash indicated that Sessions viewed the 2014 Cole memo – which directs the Department of Justice to not interfere in state-sanctioned cannabis programs – as “not too far from good policy.”
Hickenlooper argued that a federal sweep on legal cannabis regimes would just lead states back into gray and medical markets and that there plenty of doctors willing to write medical cannabis recommendations. He expressed to the attorney general that since legalization there has been no rise in teenage cannabis use in the state and that emergency room visits have steadily decreased as officials have enacted laws to better regulate edibles. He also pointed out that lawmakers have worked toward tightening individual cultivation rules during this legislative session.
“You would just be trading one problem for another,” Friednash said in the report.
Earlier this month, Colorado lawmakers backed off a plan to legalize cannabis clubs after Hickenlooper indicated he did not support the plan due to fears that it could attract federal intervention.
Although Hickenlooper came away from his meeting with Sessions with no concrete assurances that the administration would maintain the status quo, it’s a promising sign amid questions brought about by the approval of Sessions as Attorney General and appointment of Tom Marino as head of the Office of National Drug Policy Control.