Bulletin staff report

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, said in a statement Thursday he did not believe the decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the Cole Memo would threaten state-licensed marijuana businesses in Oregon.

The Cole Memo, an Obama-era directive, stipulated a hands-off approach to federal law enforcement as long as states where marijuana is legal policed themselves. Sessions, in a memo to all federal prosecutors Jan. 4, wrote that “previous guidance” on enforcement of federal laws on marijuana “is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately.”

Sessions wrote that federal prosecutors should “weigh all considerations” and apply their resources where they will “reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis and dismantle criminal gangs.”

Walden’s office quoted the congressman as saying Sessions left the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in Oregon to the discretion of the U.S. attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams.

Williams, Walden said, “has made it clear that he will focus on stemming the overproduction of marijuana and the diversion of marijuana out of state, dismantling criminal organizations and thwarting violent crime. Based on that statement, it seems his efforts will not target those who choose to participate in the state’s marijuana industry, but rather the illicit actions that violate Oregon state laws and threaten the safety of our communities.”

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