Colorado’s legislative forces want to ensure that their recreational cannabis industry is safe, just in case President Trump and his U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, decide to get squirmy in the coming months and lash out against it.
On Wednesday, the Colorado Senate put its seal of approval on a measure that would allow pot businesses to scrub their association with the recreational sector and join the ranks of the medical marijuana industry. The move is considered one of the ballsiest retaliatory efforts a legal state has taken thus far to royally sabotage the possibility of the federal government interfering with legal pot commerce.
The legislation essentially creates a loophole in the state’s marijuana laws by allowing hundreds of recreational marijuana companies to reclassify their products “based on a business need due to a change in local, state or federal law or enforcement policy,” reports the Associated Press.
Representative Jonathan Singer, the bill’s sponsor, hopes the bill will become a model for other states with recreational pot laws on the books. As it stands, seven other jurisdictions stand a chance of having their recreational pot markets either shut down, or prevented from expanding under the out-of-touch philosophies of the Trump administration.
In the case of Colorado, officials are concerned that federal enforcement against legal weed could cost the state over $100 million in annual taxes. Some are worried that dismantling the industry could even lead to a recession.
Earlier last week, Sessions issued a memo announcing the evaluation of existing marijuana policies, which suggests the DoJ is trying to determine whether it should honor the Cole Memo. Federal officials like DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg and FBI Director James Comey -- all fierce opponents of marijuana legalization – have been appointed to conduct the review.
The governors of the first four states to legalize marijuana recently sent a letter to Sessions asking him to adhere to the plan chiseled out by Obama’s Justice Department.
“Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”
But since it is unlikely that Sessions will side with common sense with respect to this issue, lawmakers have been forced to get creative to protect what is at stake.
Colorado’s new bill is now set to go before the state House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass without issue. It will then be sent to the desk of Governor Hickenlooper for a signature.