State leaders rebuke AG Sessions’ criticism of legal cannabis


Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent letters with “serious questions” to the governors of Washington, Colorado, and Oregon on existing cannabis legislation last week, and now state officials have rebuked his claims.

Sessions claims the laws have been inadequately enforced, enabling minors to access cannabis, creating a black market, and allowing the diversion of legal cannabis into other states.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement saying he is incredibly proud of the work done to implement cannabis legalization in a way which keeps youths safe and minimizes diversions out of state and into the black market.

Inslee is pleased AG Sessions agrees with their goals regarding health and safety, but added “he is referring to incomplete and unreliable data which does not provide the most accurate snapshot of our efforts since the marketplace opened in 2014.”

The office of Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper released a statement which said they welcome the opportunity to work with the attorney general and the federal government to protect public health, public safety, and other law enforcement interests.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has not yet issued a reply to the letter.

Sessions’ letters to the social cannabis states relied on information from High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) reports. The HIDTA program, created in the late 1980s, exists to “reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States.”