On Thu. Jan. 4, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum which had directed Federal law enforcement to honor the will of states that voted for legal and regulated cannabis.
We believe rescinding the Cole Memorandum was a mistake.
In light of this action, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioners Chloe Eudaly, Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish, and Dan Saltzman have sent the following letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Billy Williams.
Please click here for a PDF of the letter, and please find the full text of the letter below:
January 8, 2018
The Honorable Billy Williams
United States Attorney for the District of Oregon
1000 SW Third Ave. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204
RE: United States Department of Justice Action on Cannabis Enforcement
Dear U.S. Attorney Billy Williams:
The United States Department of Justice decision to rescind the Cole Memo is a mistake. We strongly oppose any action from the Justice Department on cannabis enforcement that would subvert the will of voters in Oregon and other states.
While cautiously encouraged by your comments regarding enforcement of cannabis laws, we urge the Federal government to not intervene with law enforcement in Oregon or other states whose voters have affirmed their desire to regulate and tax the production and sale of cannabis.
We are not merely concerned about federal overreach into the Portland cannabis market, but the entire cannabis pipeline statewide. The Portland area market for cannabis is dependent upon legitimate entities across the entire state to produce and distribute their products to our retailers.
We know that cannabis prohibition has failed.
It has failed to keep our children safe, it has failed law enforcement, and it has especially failed communities of color disproportionately targeted and prosecuted for low-level drug offenses.
Oregon is among the 29 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized and regulated recreational or medical cannabis. Here in Portland, there are hundreds of cannabis retailers, producers, processors, and wholesalers are woven into the fabric of our business community, contributing thousands of well-paying jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity.
The cannabis business community contributes to our state and local economy, and together we work to diminish the unregulated cannabis market. Through state and local oversight, we can ensure that cannabis is safe for consumers and that it stays out of the hands of kids. The City of Portland will continue to stand with our cannabis business community.
Mayor Ted Wheeler
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
Commissioner Nick Fish
Commissioner Amanda Fritz
Commissioner Dan Saltzman