The first tangible fallout from the rescinding of the Cole Memo is a halt in plans to make Las Vegas the first American city with legal social marijuana use areas. Officials representing the city of Las Vegas and Clark County said Monday that neither entity is immediately proceeding with previously discussed ideas to implement the so-called pot lounges after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued Department of Justice guidance to effectively remove internal memorandums to protect states' rights to legalize marijuana. Sessions' ruling, which ordered U.S. attorneys in pot-legal states to ignore the Obama-era Cole and Wilkinson memorandums — advising federal attorneys in pot-legal states to narrow their prosecution of the plant to offenses such as distribution of the plant to minors, driving under the influence or use on federal property — clouded the waters for local officials.
Meanwhile, Nevada's Gov. Brian Sandoval is touting the successful operation of regulated marijuana sales in the Silver State. Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he wants to reach out "in the very near future" to the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss a new policy by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that gives federal prosecutors more leeway to enforce federal laws against marijuana. Sandoval said it was "premature" to determine whether he will direct state Attorney General Adam Laxalt to file any formal lawsuits aimed at preventing the federal government from interfering with Nevada's regulated marijuana industry. Sandoval opposed Question 2, the statewide ballot initiative allowing for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada, but softened on the issue after voters approved it by nearly 10 points.
A Republican state legislator in Pennsylvania said he would call on the U.S. Congress to protect the Second Amendment rights of medical marijuana patients. State Sen. Mike Folmer will introduce a resolution to amend the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, he said. The law currently prevents anyone who consumes marijuana for any reason from owning a firearm. State Sen. Joe Scarnati, the Republican Senate president pro tempore, is on board to cosponsor the resolution. Pennsylvania and 28 other states have made marijuana available for medicinal purposes. It will take an act of Congress, however, to amend the federal gun control law's language. That could be difficult without the nation's most powerful gun-rights organization. The NRA has said it has no interest in entering a debate involving medical cannabis, and has advised marijuana patients to lobby to change the law themselves.
The New Jim Crow, an award-winning book by Michelle Alexander published in 2010, appears on lists of publications that inmates in New Jersey prisons may not possess. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the banned book lists in response to a public records request, called for the ban to be lifted and said it violated the rights of inmates under the first amendment to the US constitution. In a letter due to be sent on Monday to Gary Lanigan, New Jersey's corrections commissioner, the ACLU said the ban was particularly troubling because the state had the country's widest disparity between white and black incarceration rates. Alexander said in an email to The Guardian that the ban was in keeping with a widespread denial of civil and human rights to inmates in American prisons.