First Salvo? Feds target Cannabis Cup

In what may be the first shot from the Department of Justice in their effort to start cracking down on cannabis, the Reno Gazette-Journal posted a warning letter from U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden to the Moapa Paiute Tribe. Referring to the upcoming Cannabis Cup to be held this week outside of Las Vegas, the letter states that the “transport, possession, use and distribution of controlled substances, including marijuana, is prohibited by 21 U.S.C. 841.”.

What’s notable about the letter is the specific reference to the Cole Memo, which Bogden clarifies should only be interpreted as providing guidance for decision making and does not at all preclude the enforcement of federal law. The letter also goes on to clarify that nothing precludes the Department of Justice from taking action to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in “Indian Country” or on tribal lands.

Our Take: If you’re headed to the Cannabis Cup this week, don’t bring any greens. It seems like there is a strong likelihood the feds will come knocking and might look to send a strong message here.

2 thoughts on “First Salvo? Feds target Cannabis Cup”

  1. Tom, thanks for the comment. Indeed the main question will be prioritization and resource constraints. In order to really create a big dent, the feds will need cooperation from state and local authorities. However, authorities in states that have legalized recreational cannabis have come out strongly so far saying they will not assist the feds in crackdowns of activities that are permitted under state law.
    On the Cannabis Cup specifically, the memo from Bogden seems to have made a big impact. Organizers had to send out a memo to all attendees warning them not to bring any cannabis to the event, and reports indicate it was toned down significantly on Day 1. Day 2 was actually cancelled altogether after organizers cited a high wind advisory!

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