After Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to rescind a policy protecting states with legal marijuana, many politicians came out and criticized the move. But now some members of Congress are actually doing something about it.
Congressmen Lou Correa, a Democrat from California, and Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, introduced the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act. The bill would essentially do the same thing the Cole Memo, the Obama-era policy Sessions rescinded, did. It would tell the Department of Justice to not pursue marijuana prosecutions in states with recreational or medical marijuana. The medical marijuana industry is already protected by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which just received an extension until this March.
"Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the ‘Cole Memo’ created great uncertainty for these states and legal cannabis businesses, and put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws," said Correa.
Gaetz said the Cole Memo was a good policy but wasn't the correct avenue. He said it should've been passed as an act of Congress, not a memo made independently by the Justice Department.
“We are a nation of laws, not department-wide memos. We should not tell prosecutors to ‘pick and choose’ what laws to uphold,” he said. “When federal law conflicts with state laws and the will of the American people, it’s time to change the laws.”
It's hard to argue with Gaetz's logic. If the Cole Memo had been passed as a law by Congress, Sessions wouldn't have been able to simply rescind it.
It's unclear if the new bill will gain traction. But if every politician who criticized Sessions over the last month jumped on board, it would pass instantly.
(h/t The Hill)