The National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC) applauds and commends US Attorney General Jeff Sessions for taking action today to rescind the "Cole Memo", thereby restoring the ability of Federal prosecutors to enforce Federal drug laws. The NNOAC strongly opposed the action taken by the previous administration that restricted prosecutors’ ability to enforce the law against marijuana producers and distributors.
According to NNOAC President, Bob Bushman, "One of the unfortunate consequences of the Cole Memo was the encouragement it provided to the marijuana industry to expand its reach, resulting in dramatic increases in marijuana use, marijuana-related traffic fatalities and the availability of marijuana in markets throughout our country". "Given the current drug epidemic facing our country that is resulting in so much addiction and so many drug poisoning deaths", said Bushman, "we should be doing everything we can to discourage and curb illegal drug use. That includes marijuana."
The Attorney General's action will take the handcuffs off of law enforcement so they can go after the criminal organizations that harm our communities. Although U.S. Attorneys will not be forced to prosecute marijuana producers or distribution cases, they will now have discretion to prosecute cases that threaten the safety of the citizens in their communities. Clearly, Federal prosecutors do not use their resources to target simple marijuana possession or put individuals with substance use disorders in prison. We do not believe that will change under this policy.
The NNOAC has long held that negative consequences to public health and public safety far outweigh any benefits from tax revenue gained by legalizing dangerous and addictive drugs like marijuana. Evidence clearly demonstrates those negative consequences in states that have legalized the production and sale of marijuana. And, evidence also shows that illicit marijuana markets are thriving, not only in areas that have implemented legalization, but in other states across the nation that are now being deluged with marijuana produced in states that continue to allow it in violation of federal law.
This action by the Attorney General that restores the ability for Federal agencies to enforce the law is a step in the right direction to help our nation's law enforcement officers protect our communities and preserve public health and safety.
The NNOAC represents State Narcotic Officers' Associations, partner organizations and their 50,000 members throughout the United States.