Bear in mind when Jeff Periods tried to show the tide in opposition to hashish legalization? Even inside his personal Justice Division, the bumbling effort by the US lawyer normal seems to have fallen flat.
On Tuesday, the highest federal prosecutor in Massachusetts—the most recent state to launch a regulated retail hashish market, although shops have but to open—signaled that he plans to let the state’s legalization rollout transfer ahead.
“I cannot successfully immunize the residents of the Commonwealth from federal marijuana enforcement,” US Lawyer Andrew Lelling, a Trump appointee, stated in a press release. “My workplace’s assets, nevertheless, are primarily targeted on combatting the opioid epidemic that claims 1000’s of lives within the Commonwealth every year.”
Pointing to different states which have legalized hashish for grownup use, Lelling stated that he anticipates focusing his hashish enforcement efforts on a couple of particular areas. These embrace overproduction, which Lelling stated “creates the chance of unlawful, and profitable, marijuana gross sales to customers in close by states the place leisure marijuana use stays unlawful,” and focused gross sales to minors. Additionally a goal: organized crime and interstate trafficking of drug proceeds.
BREAKING: US Lawyer for MA Andrew Lelling releases assertion that each one however blesses the state’s regulated marijuana business, saying he’ll deal with overproduction, gross sales to minors, and arranged crime — basically, the rules of the Cole Memo rescinded by AG Jeff Periods. pic.twitter.com/37TslEQVFw
— Dan Adams (@Dan_Adams86) July 10, 2018
In his assertion, Lelling made it clear that he can’t assure that federal prosecutors or legislation enforcement brokers gained’t ever take motion in opposition to state-legal hashish. However by prioritizing overproduction, diversion, and underage gross sales—that are prohibited not solely on the federal stage, but additionally below state legislation—Lelling’s workplace may very well be doing the authorized business a favor, going after dangerous actors who might tarnish Massachusetts’s nascent authorized market.
As Boston Globe hashish reporter Dan Adams famous, the enforcement priorities additionally echo these recognized within the Cole memo, the Obama-era DOJ coverage that Periods rescinded in early January, on the peak of the lawyer normal’s marketing campaign in opposition to state-legal hashish.
Lelling issued a much less committal assertion within the quick aftermath of Periods’ undoing of the Cole memo. On the time, stated he was unable to supply any assurances to contributors within the state-legal marijuana commerce, calling the matter “a simple rule of legislation difficulty.”
“Congress has unambiguously made it a federal crime to domesticate, distribute and/or possess marijuana,” Lelling stated within the Jan. eight assertion. “As a legislation enforcement officer within the Govt Department, it’s my sworn duty to implement that legislation.”
By the tip of January, nevertheless, Lelling appeared to acknowledge that his workplace’s restricted assets could be put to higher use going after illicit opioids relatively than state-regulated, voter-approved hashish. On Jan. 24, he informed reporters: “The primary enforcement precedence for my workplace is the opioid disaster.”
“Twenty-one hundred individuals in Massachusetts had been killed by opioid overdoses final 12 months, not marijuana overdoses,” he continued, “in order that’s the place my assets are going proper now.”
Yesterday’s assertion appeared to substantiate, in writing, the coverage that serves the individuals of Massachusetts with out immediately pushing again in opposition to Periods—his boss—in Washington DC.