Colorado Bill Prepares for Pot Crackdown, But Governor Says No Sweat

Photo by Nico Escondido

Colorado lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to combating the snarling dogs of the federal war on weed.

Most recently, the state’s House of Representatives put its seal of approval on a measure intended to prevent local law enforcement from assisting the Justice Department, in any way, if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions decides to impose an all out attack on the industry of legal marijuana.

The measure, which was approved in a vote of 56-to-7, was designed to stop public employees from partnering up with the DEA or any of the other hammer-dropping agencies within the Justice Department for the sole purpose of tearing down the legal cannabis trade.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the bill does not specifically suggest the measure was created to protect the state’s now multi-billion dollar cannabis industry, but lawmakers are not denying that Sessions’ recent threats may have inspired the enthusiasm behind its foundation.

It’s not just Colorado that is worried about the possibility of an over-zealous Trump administration swooping in with a legion of military grade thugs to destroy the legal marketplace. California lawmakers, the first to come up with the concept, are working on a similar bill, all of it in an effort to prevent federal drug agents from leaning on local resources to shut down a revision in policy that was approved by the majority of the voters.

However, to listen to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper explain it, all of the ruckus surrounding the supposed marijuana crackdown could be all for nothing.

The leader of the first legal marijuana state in the nation told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, earlier this week, that after meeting with Attorney General Sessions, he didn’t get the feeling that the guy really has enough time in the day to give much consideration to closing the doors on legal weed.

Hickenlooper said, at one point, after Sessions listened to him ramble on about how the state has not seen a significant increase in teenage pot consumption, the attorney general leaned in and said, “Well, you haven’t seen us cracking down, have you?”

Hickenlooper believes this means the Justice Department has its hands full combating cartel crime associated with the distribution of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Since Sessions was confirmed to take over as the leading law enforcer in the United States, it seems that not a week has gone by that he hasn’t expressed disapproval for marijuana.

In fact, it is his anti-pot remarks, along with statements from White House press secretary Sean Spicer, hinting at increased federal marijuana enforcement, which are largely responsible for making legal states nervous in the first place—prompting the introduction of bills like the one just approved by the Colorado House.

The primary concern is that the Justice Department is going to squash the Cole Memo, the brass tacks behind the Obama administration’s “hands off” approach to statewide legalization, and devise a new set of rules, either bringing about extra restrictions or a nation of total prohibition.

But Hickenlooper says he doesn’t see anything that severe on the horizon.

“[Sessions] didn’t give me any reason to think that he is going to come down and suddenly try to put everyone out of business,” Hickenlooper said.

However, the governor did say the Justice Department is not going to tolerate illegal activity, such as the distribution of pot products across state lines, within the legal sector.

Therefore, anyone operating a legal marijuana business needs to “be absolutely clean,” he said.

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