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On the four year anniversary of the “Cole Memorandum” — the Obama-era guidelines allowing marijuana legalization in some U.S. states — Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing evidence-based marijuana laws and led by a former Obama-appointed official released a new report demonstrating that states with legal marijuana have failed to meet U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) rules designed to keep federal officials from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in states with legal marijuana. The report, entitled “The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later” is the first comprehensive census of open source information measuring state compliance of the eight rules designed to keep federal officials from interfering in state markets.
According to the report, the three states with the most established retail marijuana markets — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — have failed to meet at least 7 of the 8 compliance guidelines in the Cole Memo. Most notably, states with legal sales have failed to prevent distribution of marijuana to minors, the trafficking of marijuana to other states, and the production of marijuana on public lands. Additionally, drugged driving is increasing and criminal enterprises are continuing to exploit the legal market as a cover for a wide array of criminal activity. DOJ’s “hands off” enforcement posture is contingent on states meeting these requirements “on paper and in practice.” For more


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