Federal law enforcement officials and Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department were investigating pending marijuana-related court cases in Colorado while the Attorney General was reminding America of how much he dislikes the idea of legalizing marijuana.
This recent news came from IBT’s David Sirota, who obtained an email exchange between one of Sessions’ people and Colorado officials. The one-page email is brief and is only an information request, but it is one of the first concrete signs of federal interest in state-level marijuana under the Trump era. Which means it is guaranteed to make marijuana industry types worried about a job-killing federal crackdown a little more nervous.
Through email, a Denver-based DEA agent asked a Colorado state prosecutor, “Are you able to provide me the state docket numbers for the following cases? Some of our intel people are trying to track down info regarding some of DEA’s better marijuana investigations for the new administration. Hopefully it will lead to some positive changes.”
As IBT noted, the exchange came about two weeks after White House press secretary Sean Spicer first raised the specter of “greater enforcement” around legal marijuana on February 23. The next several weeks were full of public sabre-rattling from Sessions, who sought counsel from the attorney general of nearby Oklahoma before comparing marijuana unfavorably to heroin.
The cases referenced by the DEA are ongoing prosecutions. These are situations in which the state of Colorado, where marijuana is legal, has identified illegal activity pertaining to marijuana. We don’t know what cases the DEA agent is asking about (Sirota and IBT do not say), but we suspect it stems from one of the many multi-agency raids from last year.
The DEA was a partner agency on at least a few of them, but all of them targeted illegal farming and interstate marijuana trafficking. Twenty more sites were raided by DEA agents working with local law enforcement in mid-March, 10 days after the email, but a DEA spokesman told the AP at the time that those raids were in the works for “months” and did not have anything to do with a Trump-era directive