FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Three Alaska lawmakers joined forces to rewrite a resolution pertaining to the separation of federal marijuana regulations and the state’s legal cannabis industry.
Democrat state Rep. David Guttenberg of Fairbanks, Independent state Rep. Jason Grenn of Anchorage and Republican state Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak have spearheaded the effort to rewrite the resolution, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.
The lawmakers’ decision comes after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent move to rescind what’s known as the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era policy discouraging the federal government from interfering with states’ legal marijuana industries.
Guttenberg said Sessions’ policy shift seeks to cut “Alaska’s legal marijuana industry off at the knees.”
“The policy shift announced last week denies the will of Alaskans, who voted overwhelmingly to legalize cannabis in 2014,” Guttenberg said. “A federally imposed prohibition overriding strong local support drives good people to indirectly support criminals through the black market. Furthermore, it threatens an industry just beginning to provide real tax revenue to the state of Alaska.”
Guttenberg wants Alaska residents to help rewrite the resolution, he said.
“I want Alaskans to have their voices heard by helping us craft an official statement from the state Legislature that says, ‘No,’ to enforcing an antiquated federal marijuana prohibition over the will of Alaska voters.”
Grenn said he did not support the legalization of recreational marijuana in Alaska but he respects what he categorized as a clear message from voters.
“My constituents in the cannabis industry have put significant capital into their establishments, taken great financial risks and created jobs during a challenging economic time, all while following the letter of state law,” Grenn said. “They are entrepreneurs, not criminals.”
Stutes said she was also disappointed in Sessions’ decision.
“For me, this issue has nothing to do with whether you support legal marijuana but is clearly about states’ rights,” Stutes said.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner