OR responds to end of Obama-era pot policy

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Cody Falk returns a jar of marijuana to a shelf after helping a customer at Sweet Relief in Astoria.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms Attorney General Jeff Sessions decision to rescind the Cole Memorandum", Jones said in a statement issued late Thursday. The conflict between state and federal law has been a hot issue at least since 2012, when Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational use of marijuana. And opening the door to allow the federal government to prosecute more citizens in states where marijuana has been legalized by overwhelming majorities of the people makes no sense.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds an Obama-era policy that allowed legal marijuana to flourish in states across the country.

While appearing to be diametrically opposed, the Cole memos and the Sessions guidance replacing them share one thing in common: Maximum discretion to federal prosecutors to go after the marijuana cases they deem to be high priority, given limited resources.

Hutchinson said he believes Sessions decision to repeal the Obama-era memo is heavily aimed toward states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

But the emerging pot industry is rooted in shaky legal ground, complicating regulatory, financial and advertising issues. In 2012, Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics showed there were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession and only 256,000 for "cocaine, heroin, and their derivatives". "I feel that this is just part of this industry, and I feel hopeful that logic will prevail". Congress would have to change the law for states to be entirely free of federal intervention.


"We will continue working with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to pursue shared public safety objectives, with an emphasis on stemming the overproduction of marijuana and the diversion of marijuana out of state, dismantling criminal organizations and thwarting violent crime in our communities", he said. "You need to double down on compliance, be a good neighbor, pay your taxes, and that should keep you out of the crosshairs with the federal government", he says. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner stated shock at the decision, as it would apparently contradict private assurances received from Mr. Sessions before his appointment. "This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything within my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said. Voters in the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington have all supported legalization.

"Marijuana has been under a prohibition regime entirely in the time that the industry has expanded to where it is today", said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, representing more than 1,500 marijuana-related businesses. And for medical marijuana, "it is not likely an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on seriously ill individuals or their individual care givers".

"What I think may happen is people who otherwise kept their heads down are going to have to stand up and speak out", charged Murphy.

The immediate reaction to Thursday's news from the marijuana industry and some members of Congress was alarm.

OR collected more than $108 million in taxes from marijuana sales between January 2016 and August. He pointed to the chill this would put on businesses, landlords, and particularly banks that are still hesitant to work with cannabis clients, despite the millions of legal dollars changing hands.

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