Portland council asks US Attorney to defend cannabis
The Portland City Council wants Oregon's U.S. attorney to stand up to his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
On Monday, the council sent a letter to Billy Williams, asking him to protect Oregon's growing legal cannabis market — and by extension states' rights.
Sessions took action last week to rescind the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era policy that gave states leeway to create legal cannabis markets.
"We strongly oppose any action from the Justice Department on cannabis enforcement that would subvert the will of voters in Oregon and other states," Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the other city commissioners wrote in their letter to Williams.
They argued that "cannabis prohibition has failed" and should be left in the past.
"It has especially failed communities of color disproportionately targeted and prosecuted for low-level drug offenses," the council wrote.
Sessions has been a vocal opponent of drug legalization, calling his move to rescind the Cole Memo a "return to the rule of law."
In a statement last week, Williams did not say if his office would change its approach to prosecutions because of Sessions' direction. Instead, he said his office would continue to have "the diversion of marijuana out of state" and "dismantling criminal organizations" as its main priorities related to Oregon's market.
OPB is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read the rest of their story at www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-cannabis-jeff-sessions-billy-williams-council.