Marijuana may be illegal in the eyes of the Federal government but it has recently become far less illegal.
In August 2013 the U.S. Justice Department released a memorandum, written by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, clarifying the Federal government’s approach to marijuana cultivation, distribution and sales. Known as “the Cole Memo,” the document offers formal guidance to states that have legalized cannabis in some form or another.
Bottom line? The Justice Department will not pursue criminal charges against marijuana-related businesses that follow state and local regulations and comply with certain Federal guidelines.
The Cole Memo instructs prosecutors to bring marijuana related prosecutions in only eight instances:
- Sales to minors
- Money going to criminal enterprises
- Sales across state lines
- Sales of other drugs
- Grown on Federal land
- Driving under the influence (oddly)
The Cole Memo, for the first time, gives marijuana businesses a clear cut frame-work of rules and regulations to follow regarding exposure to Federal prosecutors.