Brown wrote a letter Wednesday pushing back against accusations by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Oregon has failed to protect the public.
SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown is pushing back against accusations by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Oregon’s marijuana regulations have failed to adequately protect public health and prevent leakage into the illicit market.
In a letter to Sessions Aug. 22, Brown detailed protections and improvements Oregon has made to its cannabis regulation and enforcement systems and challenged the accuracy of information Sessions cited in his questioning of the state’s compliance with the Cole Memorandum.
The memo by the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama administration in 2013 allowed states to operate legal marijuana programs without federal interference on the condition that states protect the public and keep cannabis from leaking out of the regulated market.
In the letter, the governor addressed concerns outlined in a letter from Sessions last month.
She noted she has signed into law several new regulations this year to prevent illegal sales and transport of cannabis products. For example, one law expands strict tracking requirements to medical marijuana, requiring all products to be tracked with radio frequency identification tags. Another law increases criminal penalties for marijuana crimes, such as illegal extraction and import and export.
Brown and several other governors have encouraged Sessions to keep the Cole memo in place. A federal task force also concluded the memo is the best strategy for handling states with legal cannabis programs, according to an Aug. 3 report by The Associated Press.
“Tax revenue from the marijuana industry is used to