Calling the Justice Department’s decision to rescind the “Cole memo” disturbing is the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), who responded to the announcement with a forceful statement on Thursday. The Association’s Executive Director, Aaron Smith, reminded both the Department and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that public opinion falls on the side of cannabis legalization, with 73 percent of voters preferring the federal government to stay away from the issue. Smith then took a hopeful tone, seeing as federal prosecutors have discretion in how to apply this new policy to the states.
The NCIA represents over 1500 cannabis-related businesses on a national level in the United States. Pegging themselves as one of the larger cannabis trade associations in the country, the NCIA’s lobbying activity seeks to legitimize the cannabis industry on several different fronts. They were not too shy about reminding the current administration of their campaign promise to keep away from legalized marijuana.
“We therefore hope that Department of Justice officials, including U.S. Attorneys, will continue to uphold President Trump's campaign promise to not interfere with state cannabis programs, which have been overwhelmingly successful in undercutting the criminal market,” wrote Smith. “ Any significant change in federal enforcement policy will result in higher unemployment and will take funds away from education and other beneficial programs.”
With an angry appeal to logic, Smith ended his statement with an ominous warning, “Those revenues will instead go back to drug cartels and other criminal actors.”
iAnthus Responds To Sessions With Calm
OK until I found out they smoked pot… Citing no change in federal law is iAnthus (CSE:IAN) (CNSX:IAN) who responded to Sessions’ announcement on Thursday with a calm but forceful statement reminding officials of the benefits of legalized cannabis. The company was adamant in their belief that rescinding the “Cole memo” did not affect current federal law, and that therefore DOJ policy had not undergone any significant changes. According to the statement by iAnthus, “Attorneys will continue to have the same wide prosecutorial discretion that they had prior to today.”
The company continued to explain the benefits of an economy in which legalized marijuana is allowed to thrive. Job growth and tax revenue were at the top of the list, as iAnthus made clear the impossibility of ignoring the vast benefits that states like Colorado and Nevada already see from legalized cannabis. Switching gears, the company reminded the Justice Department that sending marijuana back to the cartels and the black market would benefit no one.
“It is worth noting that the President has clearly indicated in the past his support for medical marijuana and the rights of the states to decide their own policies in the area of marijuana legalization, just as the states have the power to regulate -- and tax -- the alcohol and tobacco industries,” the company wrote in their statement. “iAnthus' management believes it unlikely that the President will allow the Attorney General's personal bias against marijuana use to damage the President's political brand or that of his party."
Indoor Harvest Takes A Conciliatory Tone
We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized… Saying they support the Justice Department is Indoor Harvest Corp. (OTCQB:INQD), who announced on Thursday their belief that the decision by Sessions to repeal the “Cole memo” will place more pressure on Congress to legislate away current marijuana prohibition laws. The company argued in a statement that the “Cole memo” was nothing but a “temporary solution” and that a more permanent answer to the problem needs to come from Congress. Citing Senator Hatch’s (R-Utah) Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 (MEDS Act), Indoor Harvest agreed that legislation is the only way to free businesses like themselves from the burden of federal prosecutions.
Indoor Harvest said in their statement that the move by Sessions was in good faith and that they believe it will lead to a more reasonable solution to the issue of marijuana legalization. Despite the market disruption caused by the Justice Department’s announcement, Indoor Harvest feels that a correction will occur in the coming days and weeks, should Congress take action. According to their statement, they cited overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization.
"While it is yet to be seen whether these actions will impede the Company’s immediate business plans, the Company’s primary business goal is to use the technology, science and relationships developed by the Company to become a registered producer of cannabis under the Controlled Substance Act,” the company wrote in their statement. “Thus the Company’s primary business efforts are to follow federal law. The timing and acceptance of any such registration remain to be seen.”
Everything Is Fine
It ought not to be minimized, that it's in fact a very real danger… Not concerned about Sessions’ announcement is Hemp, Inc. (OTC PINK:HEMP), who argued on Friday that the Justice Department’s decision includes neither hemp nor kenaf. According to a statement, the company believes that their supply-chain will not be affected by the federal government. Currently, Hemp Inc. has 18 million pounds of kenaf in stock and plans to harvest another 2 million pounds.
“Investors in Hemp, Inc. have nothing to worry about or fear,” said CEO Bruce Perlowin.
I think one of [Obama's] great failures; it's obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana… Not feeling threatened by Sessions’ move is Freedom Leaf, Inc. (OTCQB:FRLF), who announced on Friday that the company follows all laws in every country it currently operates within. The company noted in a statement that the Justice Department has enacted no new laws and that the United States is now under the same marijuana landscape that it was 24 hours prior. Feeling a bit confident, the company noted that the federal government just does not have the resources to shut down the growing marijuana industry.
“While we are very grateful for the buying in FRLF shares following legalization in California, the fact is that it will have little or no impact on FRLF as we do not handle, grow, sell, or dispense marijuana, but neither will Sessions’s threats, which sparked a sell-off in our shares,” said company CEO Clifford J. Perry.
It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started 'Just Say No… Also speaking out is Blue Line Protection Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:BLPG), and CEO Dan Allen who said on Friday, “Now, [our] role has become more important than ever as we navigate an industry that may face greater scrutiny from federal law enforcement agencies.”
It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal… And with the final comment is FinCanna Capital Corp. (CSE:CALI) CEO Andriyko Herchak, who said on Friday, “We will continue to pursue our business strategy of investing in best-in-class businesses in the licensed medical cannabis industry that operate in full compliance with all state laws and local regulations.”
Good people don't smoke marijuana…
Photo By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Jeff Sessions) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons