Secret meetings taking place this week in Colorado involving some of the federal government’s leading agencies against the drug culture could be an indication that it is just now just a matter of time before U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions launches a full blown attack against the legal cannabis trade.
According to a recent report from CBS affiliate KKTV 11 News in Colorado Springs, some of Uncle Sam’ top hammers, including the Department of Justice, the DEA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) have been meeting this week with local officials to discuss the issue of marijuana enforcement.
An anonymous figure close to the situation apparently tipped off the news source prior to the meeting, which led to video coverage proving that it did, in fact, take place.
KKTV News reached out to Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who in addition to being involved with the secret meeting is a long time opponent of the marijuana legalization movement, to find out exactly what was discussed behind closed doors. The mayor initially refused to disclose any details, but later stated, “the meetings are not open to the public because they include sensitive investigation information.”
“There's nothing about this that would require it to be public,” Suthers added. “The folks that came out didn't want it public; there's no reason for it to be public."
Although it is conceivable that this anti-drug assembly was simply part of a coordinated effort between federal, state and local officials to go after black market marijuana operations, which is what Mayor Suthers has suggested, it is just as likely that the meetings could carry implications toward a federal marijuana crackdown.
In fact, KKTV News reported that the same federal agencies that met in Colorado Springs also met with representatives of Governor John Hickenlooper’s office at some point, earlier this week. However, Hickenlooper himself did not attend, according to a report from The Gazette.
What is known for sure is that a review of federal marijuana policies is due on Attorney General Sessions’ desk at the end of this month. There is also speculation that this report could lead to the reversal of an Obama-era memo that gives states the freedom to “experiment” with legal weed.
Although the presence of the Justice Department and the DEA at the meeting is not anything out of the ordinary, the fact that the ONDCP, the federal government’s drug reduction agency, was present as well indicates that changes in how statewide marijuana legalization is permitted to continue could be on the horizon.
Marijuana advocates in Colorado are concerned about what these secret meeting really mean for the future of the cannabis industry.
"It has come to our attention that the Mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers, met today with officials from several Federal agencies, in secret. This is extremely concerning for us as an organization, but more so for the cannabis businesses, as well as the patients and caregivers that we represent,” Jason Warf, executive director at the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council, wrote in a statement.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Session reversed yet another Obama-era memo in an effort to ramp up the civil asset forfeiture program. Considering that the Justice Department has been gradually eliminating all of the temporary policies established by the previous administration, we predict that soon the only thing that has allowed states to legalize without federal interference (the Cole Memo) could be revised or tossed in the garbage altogether.