Anti-Cannabis Group ‘Smart Approaches to Marijuana’ Urges Sessions to Crack Down on Legal Weed

Anti-Cannabis Group ‘Smart Approaches to Marijuana’ Urges Sessions to Crack Down on Legal Weed

by Zach Harris | NEWS |

SAM’s new report, sent to the Attorney General, claims that the legal weed industry hasn’t kept up its side of the Obama-era bargain that curtailed federal enforcement.

It’s been four years since America’s Department of Justice, under the oversight of President Barack Obama, issued the Cole Memo, offering a number of prosecutorial guidelines that effectively protected cannabis businesses following state regulations from the long arms of federal law. And while those guidelines have been effective in allowing medical and recreational marijuana markets to thrive in states like Colorado, Washington and California, one group of anti-legalization activists is urging Jeff Sessions and the current DOJ to end the green rush, under the pretense that those states have not held up their end up of the Cole Memo bargain. 

According to The Cannabist, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) took the Obama-era memo’s fourth anniversary as the perfect time to re-evaluate just how damaging they believe legalization has been. And with Jeff Sessions’ continued threats of federal cannabis enforcement still looming, the group is encouraging the Attorney General to follow through.

“[The Department of Justice] should take measured action to successfully protect public health and safety.” The report, “The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later,” suggests. “Limited federal resources should be used to target the big players in the marijuana industry who are circumventing (Department of Justice) guidance and state regulations.”

And while the group, a certified nonprofit organization, does not encourage the arrest of individual legal weed customers or consumers, they do want to see America’s fastest growing industry completely shuttered. 

“We do not want individuals prosecuted — we want the industry to be accountable.” SAM president Kevin Sabet said. “This industry — starting from the top — should be systematically shut down.”

In the report, SAM reiterates a number of Sessions’ comments that were sent to state officials in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, claiming those states have had higher rates of youth marijuana use, drug-fueled car crashes and persistent black market distribution channels sending weed out of state. And while Sessions’ letters have been widely rebuked by the state officials they were addressed to, Sabet and SAM have shown no signs of slowing down their quest to end legal weed.

The report says canna-businesses “​​are ​pocketing ​millions ​by ​flouting ​federal ​law, ​deceiving Americans ​about ​the ​risks ​of ​their ​products, ​and ​targeting ​the ​most ​vulnerable.” Adding, “​They ​should ​not have ​access ​to ​banks, ​where ​their ​financial ​prowess ​would ​be ​expanded ​significantly, ​nor should ​they ​be ​able ​to ​advertise ​or ​commercialize ​marijuana.”

So far, Sessions’ threats of a federal crackdown have been nothing more than the pipe dreams of a staunch prohibitionist, but if you ask SAM, it’s still high time to put the kibosh on America’s high times.


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.


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