Portland shop owner: It’s ‘business as usual’ after Sessions pot - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland shop owner: It’s ‘business as usual’ after Sessions pot announcement

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It may be too soon to say whether anything will be changing for Oregon cannabis business owners following a change announced by the Department of Justice Thursday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that an Obama-era policy that had federal prosecutors stay out of the way of states legalizing marijuana would be rolled back.

What exactly that means for medicinal and recreational marijuana businesses is still unclear, so for many local owners, it is still business as usual.

Matt Walstatter and his wife opened Pure Green on Northeast 37th and Sandy nearly four years ago. They've seen a lot of changes in the marijuana industry since then, from medical licensing to the passage of Measure 91, making recreational pot legal in Oregon.

“We have dealt with regulatory changes many, many times, and one of the first things we learned is you don't really know what's going to happen just because something changes," Walstatter said of the news.

He was disappointed but not terribly worried to hear that Sessions rolled back the so-called "Cole Memo," leaving it up to the U.S. Attorney in each state to decide whether to prosecute.

For now, Walstatter said. It's a waiting game to see what happens next.

"In the immediate term, it's not going to change anything that we do," he explained.

Governor Kate Brown came out against the move early Thursday, saying Oregon's marijuana industry is successful, creating thousands of jobs and millions in revenue, and that she'll do whatever she can to protect it.

"The focus of the Cole Memorandum is to keep our children safe and to keep marijuana off the black market," she explained during a news conference with other state and local officials Thursday. "Oregonians voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana, we are implementing the will of the voters in a way that is successful for the economy."

Brown also said she is exploring legal options and hopes to have more clarity from the U.S. Attorney in Oregon within the next 48 hours.

When it comes to law enforcement, state and local leaders said the announcement doesn't change a thing.

"State troopers, city police officers, deputy sheriffs, we enforce state statute in Oregon." Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said. "We will not target people who are operating lawfully within state statute."

Walstatter told FOX 12 that growers, vendors and users who are following Oregon law should have nothing to worry about.

“Your local cannabis store is still going to be open today,” he said. “It's still going to be open tomorrow."

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