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by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive DirectorApril 6, 2017

This week, Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions issued a memo outlining a requested task force inquiry into a number of public safety issues, one of which being the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

The memo was sent to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads to provide “an update on the Department¹s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.”

The Attorney General announced the creation of Task Force subcommittees that will focus on a variety of issue areas including evaluating marijuana enforcement policy.

Sessions requested a report back from the task force no later than July 27th. You can read the full memo here. This memo now gives us a general time frame in which to expect any formal announcements regarding federal marijuana policy from the Trump Administration, who have thus far sounded some alarming notes on the subject.

In the meantime, Congress can remove all of the bite from Jeff Sessions’ bark by approving the bipartisan Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which would allow states to legalize medical or general adult use of marijuana without fear of federal incursion. Jeff Sessions said his job is solely to enforce current law, so let’s change those laws to ensure our reform victories remain in place and that we can expand those efforts to more states.


The governors of four states that have legalized marijuana for adult use aren’t sitting by idly waiting to hear from the Department of Justice on this matter. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker
(I) issued a letter to Sessions and Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s policies towards states with reformed marijuana laws as laid out in the Cole Memo.

“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.”

Change rarely comes from the top on down, it comes from the bottom on up. That is why it is imperative that not only do you contact your federal officials in support of changing policy, but also push for change at the local and state levels.

Click HERE to view pending federal and state legislation and easily contact your elected officials in support of them.

Click HERE to find a local NORML chapter in your area and get involved. NORML Kansas City this week successfully placed marijuana decriminalization on their municipal ballot and saw it pass with 71% support — this is the kind of change a group of committed volunteer citizens can bring to cities and communities around the country.

A people united will never be defeated and together we WILL end marijuana prohibition nationwide.