DENVER — The Latest on Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrawing protections for recreational marijuana (all times local):
Colorado’s Attorney General tells people who use and sell marijuana legally in her state: “Don’t freak out.”
That’s Cynthia Coffman’s advice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ shift on marijuana enforcement. Coffman said local federal prosecutors now have discretion on how to enforce the still-remaining federal laws against marijuana. The interim U.S. Attorney in Colorado has said he doesn’t expect any change in his approach as a consequence of the Sessions order.
Coffman said that her office could fight back if the federal government did prosecute businesses who are complying with Colorado laws. She said the businesses could argue that the federal government allowed the marketplace to flourish and is now improperly changing direction.
“I think we’ll have a strong argument should the federal government try to change the rules,” Coffman said.
Colorado’s former “marijuana czar” says Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ shift on marijuana enforcement is meant to create chaos in the system but the Justice Department can’t force states to make pot illegal.
Gov. John Hickenlooper’s former director of marijuana coordination, Andrew Freedman, said Thursday that the move creates uncertainty in the market, which will make law-abiding people less likely to get involved. He also says banks and insurance companies will also have a harder time justifying the risk of working with marijuana businesses, making their services expensive or unavailable.
Freedman says this is a time for states that have legalized marijuana to increase enforcement to make sure their regulations are being followed, not to retreat.