Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement denouncing Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Obama-era marijuana policy:
“Attorney General Sessions says he is a headstrong advocate for states’ rights. However, his decision giving free rein to federal prosecutors to target the cannabis industry in states where voters and legislatures have chosen to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana exposes his hypocrisy. In states like Nevada, voters have spoken loud and clear that marijuana must be regulated and taxed, and that the state should be able to enforce its marijuana laws without federal interference. By rescinding the Cole memo, this administration is trampling on the will of Nevadans and creating unnecessary confusion for our state. I call on the Attorney General to reinstate the memo and work with Congress to ensure we respect the will of states while ensuring prosecutorial resources are used effectively.”
Last March, Senator Cortez Masto signed on to a letter calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to uphold the Department of Justice’s Obama-era enforcement policy regarding states that have voter-approved marijuana laws. Guidance issued by the DOJ in 2013, known as the “Cole Memorandum,” provides a clear outline of the interaction of state and federal laws regarding marijuana use. According to the memorandum, enforcement of marijuana-related activities should be addressed primarily by state regulatory bodies and local law enforcement in states with “strong and effective regulatory systems” already in place.