Cannabis business council head calls Sessions pot policy change - KPTV - FOX 12

Cannabis business council head calls Sessions pot policy change a political move

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Marijuana sales file image (Photo: KPTV) Marijuana sales file image (Photo: KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It was a shakeup in the legal marijuana industry Thursday as Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolling back a federal policy called the “Cole Memo.”

That Obama-era policy said that in states where marijuana is legal, as long as the laws are being followed, the feds won’t intervene.

Now, though, it’s up to each state’s U.S. Attorney to decide what to do.

Oregon Cannabis Business Council President Donald Morse told FOX 12 he was not surprised by the news, but he does believe there will be a lot of backlash.

“I mean we now, as an industry, have well over a billion dollars invested in greenhouses, farms, what have you, and I just don’t see everyone wanting to roll over and say, ‘Oh, OK. It was nice while it lasted,” Morse said.

He was already heading to Seattle Thursday to meet with counterparts from Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, and the announcement from Sessions quickly became their focus.

Morse said that right now the news doesn’t change a thing for marijuana business owners in Oregon, but it is interesting timing when it comes to something called the “Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment.”

That piece of legislation essentially says that the Drug Enforcement Agency cannot use federal funds to launch raids or investigations for cannabis in states where it’s legal. It expires with the current budget session in mid-January, though, and Morse warned there could be big problems if it not’s renewed.

Morse said he believes Sessions meant to get the attention of Congress with this move, sending them a message that’s it’s time to make a decision on marijuana once and for all.

He also said the move by the Justice Department could cause concern for marijuana investors and slow industry growth.

“As you know, we can’t get loans from banks, so the investment in this industry nationwide has all been from private equity, and I think today’s letter from Sessions may scare off some of the investors,” Morse told FOX 12. “So, it may slow down the availability of funds to further move the industry ahead.”

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