On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum, under which federal prosecutors refrained from interfering with state-compliant commercial marijuana operations.
The response has been heartening to cannabis commerce entrepreneurs.. No elected public official, state or federal, in Massachusetts or in any other state--and no Republican--has issued a statement of support. Better yet, our elected leaders in Massachusetts, despite their opposition to legalization in 2016, have renounced the action as threatening to jeopardize a smooth rollout of legalization. Better than reform advocates could ever have done, the AG has brought legalization powerful new friends and marooned him and his boss, the president, on the diminishing island of prohibition in a rising sea of tolerance.
It's curious that much of the public chatter has focused on the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, Mr. Lelling, but none on the role of congress. Lelling cannot repeal federal prohibition, but Congress can. If legalization enjoys support from a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans, what's the political gain in keeping marijuana in the federal controlled substances act in the first place? Who is the prohibition constituency?