Encouraging Comments from US AG

Author: Jeff Wilson, Esq.

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated Wednesday that the federal government will continue to enforce federal marijuana laws in accordance with the 2013 Cole memo, signaling that a federal crackdown on legal cannabis states appears very unlikely.

“The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” Sessions said in response to a question from a reporter about whether or not the federal government would take action against legal marijuana states.

Sessions did hint at the possibility of expanding the enforcement priorities under the Cole memo (which currently focus on keeping cannabis within state-regulated regimes, inaccessible to children, and unassociated with criminal enterprises), noting that he had “some different ideas myself in addition.” But he also admitted that the federal government is essentially “not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades,” meaning that enforcement of cannabis laws would largely remain a state-level issue.

For more information on Sessions’ comments, see:



This is an extremely encouraging development for our industry, especially given the Trump administration’s vague and seemingly conflicting rhetoric regarding cannabis over the last few months. We at McAllister Garfield believe the federal government should respect the will of the voters, and Sessions’ comments indicate that the federal government will not try to undermine voter-approved cannabis policies.