Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making it crystal clear that he’s not on the pot bandwagon with new letters to three adult-use states on how they plan on addressing what he called “serious issues” surrounding marijuana use.
Sessions wrote a letter to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, as well as similar ones to Washington State and Oregon who also have recreationally legal pot.
In his letters, Sessions writes about his concerns over a 2016 study that found some negative associations between cannabis legal states and increased dangers in Colorado such as:
- Increases in highway patrol seizures
- Increases in youth use
- Increases in traffic deaths and emergency department visits
The July 24 letter to Colorado was reported by The Cannabist:
“These findings are relevant to the policy debate concerning marijuana legalization,” Sessions wrote. “… please advise as to how Colorado plans to address the serious findings in the Rocky Mountain HIDTA report, including efforts to ensure that all marijuana activity is compliant with state marijuana laws, to combat diversion of marijuana, to protect public health and safety, and to prevent marijuana use by minors.”
The report has widely been rebuffed as a biased study as it was federally funded by an agency operated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Hickenlooper’s marijuana adviser, Mark Bolton told The Cannabist that his office wants to engage in a dialogue with Sessions and that they don’t see it as Sessions hinting at any immediate crackdown on marijuana.
Meanwhile, Sessions is grasping for more anti-pot ammo from the The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The group is the task force is studying a list of criminal justice issues, including pot.
Too bad for Sessions, there were no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views. “The tepid nature of the recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on pot,” the Associated Press observes.
Instead, the group’s report basically reiterates the federal agency’s current stance and even goes as far as to suggest the Department of Justice team up with the Treasury to straighten out financial issues such as anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious transactions involving businesses in states where pot is legal.