Jeff Sessions’s nationwide marijuana takedown isn’t going exactly like he’d planned. When the outspoken anti-cannabis Attorney General took office last year, the message was that state-legalized marijuana businesses better watch their backs. He was seen as “a drug war extremist” by the Drug Policy Alliance and he did little to dispel that handle when he started putting the governors of cannabis-legal states on notice.
But, like many of the early ideas of the Trump Administration, this one has not come to pass. (President Trump, just today, tweeted, “I wish I did!” pick someone to fill the Attorney General seat other than Sessions.)
Now that the federal crackdown on cannabis really has begun, some are saying that the people truly benefitting from it are actually legit cannabis business owners and employees. Leafly suggested exactly this in a piece Wednesday dedicated partly to a federally-assisted raid on a vast black market operation in Seattle. The website spoke to City Attorney Pete Holmes, a drug policy who had previously ordered his office to stop prosecuting small-time cannabis offenses, and now praises the work of federal law enforcement in his city’s weed affairs.
“This is exactly the kind of enforcement action that the federal government should undertake,” he said. Holmes says that a Chinese-based illegal cannabis operation had spread throughout the city, and that the city would not have had the resources to take down the criminal outfit on their own.
“The state welcomes it,” Holmes said of the assistance from the Justice Department. “The city welcomes it. The county welcomes it. And in my office, we are undertaking a number of civil forfeitures related to this case.”
Leafly pointed out other strikes in recent weeks where the federal government precisely targeted black market cannabis operations in recent weeks, leaving a more competitive market for licensed proprietors. For instance, in Sacramento last month the US Attorney for Eastern District of California supervised a strike on 74 houses involved in an illegal marijuana operation (again tied to Chinese money). Federal and state authorities have also announced an initiative to target more illegal cannabis grows in the area, backed by $2.5 million in federal money.