Back in April, Governor John Hickenlooper and the governors of three other states that have legalized recreational marijuana sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, urging them to respect the rights of states to pass such measures, and to consult with the states that have been operating under 2013’s Cole Memorandum before making any enforcement changes.
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After the passage of Amendment 64 in November 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper, who had not endorsed the measure, reminded supporters of the proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado that “federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or [Goldfish] too quickly.”
Today, governors of the four states that were first to legalize recreational marijuana — Hickenlooper in Colorado, Jay Inslee in Washington, Kate Brown in Oregon and Bill Walker in Alaska— sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, urging them to respect the rights of the states to pass such measures, and to consult with the states that have been operating under 2013’s Cole Memorandum before making any enforcement changes. Here’s the letter:
Let the research begin.
Governor John Hickenlooper has signed a bill that will create a group to study the feasibility of using hemp products in animal feed, working under the commissioner of agriculture. The group will include a hemp producer, a hemp processor, a legal expert, a higher-education representative who’s studied hemp policy, a veterinarian, a livestock producer, and anyone else the commissioner decides could help expand a discussion of hemp.
After White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that we should expect “greater enforcement” of marijuana laws, particularly regarding recreational sales, Colorado politicians responded.
Governor John Hickenlooper appeared on MSNBC on February 24 and then on Meet the Press on February 26 when he was in Washington, D.C., for a governors’ conference. During both appearances, he noted that he did not approve of marijuana legalization when it passed in Colorado, adding that he continues to be wary despite the fact that legal marijuana raked in over $1.3 billion in sales last year in this state alone.
Colorado has been a pioneer in cannabis legalization, and now the country’s other pioneer is turning to Colorado officials for guidance in implementing a regulated system.
California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996 (Colorado followed in 2000), but voters in the Golden State didn’t vote to legalize recreational use until last November. And in following Colorado’s lead, it’s looking to Colorado for help.
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo rescinding the Cole Memorandum and other federal pot protections dating back to 2009 on January 4. Colorado’s elected officials — from Governor John Hickenlooper to Mayor Michael Hancock to the entire congressional delegation — were quick to condemn the move and vow to fight any attempt to prosecute law-abiding businesses in this state. But in the meantime, how does the Sessions memo affect you?
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and his staff visited the future St. Francis Center refuge in Capitol Hill earlier this week, highlighting the state’s effort to help fight homelessness with cannabis tax revenue. The state donated $250,000 to close funding gaps to complete the construction of the center at 1400 Washington Street, but that’s just a parcel of the pot tax dollars that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs is using to help the state’s homeless.
Colorado’s cannabis industry has been holding its collective breath ever since President Donald Trump nominated Jeff Sessions for attorney general. And since he was sworn in, Sessions, a proponent of the war on drugs, hasn’t been shy about saying that marijuana should remain illegal federally.
In a proactive move, on April 3 the governors of four states with recreational cannabis businesses up and running at the time — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — sent a letter to Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, urging that federal officials “engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems.”
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper can’t seem to give a national interview without legal cannabis grenades being hurled at him. As a result, he’s become a seasoned veteran on the topic.
During a Facebook Live interview with Politico’s Playbook Exchange in Denver on August 1, Hickenlooper talked about his efforts to connect with Denver suburbs and rural Colorado, health-care coverage, his brief brushes with President Donald Trump and, inevitability, pot.
Mason Tvert, a key figure in the passage of Amendment 64, the 2012 measure that legalized limited recreational marijuana sales, and the Denver pot-legalization regulation that preceded it, is leaving his post as communications director for the national Marijuana Policy Project in favor of a similar position at VS Strategies, a Denver-based consulting firm that’s become a national powerhouse.