Mike Sampson, a partner at global law firm Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, notes that will while businesses inside the marijuana field should certainly be aware of the change in policy, Sessions did not order U.S. attorneys to disrupt the burgeoning industry. that will could result in cases being handled differently via district to district.
Ultimately, he says, the issue will come down to how courts determine federal public policy regarding cannabis. If they determine Sessions’ memo in addition to subsequent actions don’t constitute a true reversal, This specific could be nothing more than a symbolic act.
“The Cole memorandum has been something courts have relied on in determining federal public policy vis-a-vis marijuana,” he says. “[In one prominent case], the court said ‘there’s the Cole memorandum in addition to the government is usually not pursuing violations, so we can’t say there’s a public policy against marijuana.’ Will they rely on the Sessions memorandum to say ‘we today have public policy against cannabis’ — or have events like state legalization overtaken us? … There’s a lot of wait in addition to see here.”
Don’t, however, expect the Sessions memo to result in landlords in addition to insurance companies changing existing relationships with cannabusinesses, says Sampson. Because those companies knew who they were partnering with (in addition to what the business sold, grew or processed) when they signed the contracts, they likely won’t be allowed to hide behind the Controlled Substances Act to get out of the business relationships.
Justice Department budgeting, also, is usually something modest-business owners will want to pay close attention to. Prosecuting cannabis-focused businesses will take money in addition to, for today at least, there’s nothing earmarked for that will. Should the department see a notable funding increase, that will could be a red flag.
Despite the completely new threats, don’t expect to see marijuana business shut down pre-emptively to avoid legal prosecution, says Ballman. While a showdown might be looming at some point, that will’s familiar territory for the industry.
“I believe the culture of the industry is usually that will the item has been mischaracterized for decades,” he says. “The people who run shops today are very much of a generation that will fought to get [cannabis] medically licensed. They also fought to get the item recreationally legalized. I see them as a generation of fighters. I’d be surprised if any stores close.”