According to reports appearing this morning in the New York Times and the Washington Post, Attorney General Sessions is expected to rescind the Cole Memorandum later today. The Cole Memorandum is a Department of Justice policy that strongly discourages federal prosecutors from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states in which possession and use of marijuana is legal under state law.
Sessions has long been a critic of legalizing marijuana use, but until now has taken no tangible steps to halt its use in states which have legalized it. Rescinding the Cole Memorandum makes it easier for federal prosecutors to commence criminal actions against companies and individuals in the cannabis industry. Even with yesterday’s appointment of seventeen new US Attorneys, it remains to be seen whether federal enforcement of marijuana laws will increase as a result of the recession of the Cole Memorandum. Whether or not federal prosecutions increase, the rescission of the Cole Memorandum is sure to cause many businesses and investors in the cannabis industry to rethink their strategies.