U.S. Federal Law

“Cole Memo”

James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice

Prosecutorial Guidance for Federal Prosecutors on Marijuana Enforcement

August 29, 2013

Eight Enforcement Priorities:

  1. Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;

  2. Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal organizations, gangs, and cartels;

  3. Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;

  4. Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;

  5. Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana;

  6. Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;

  7. Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and

  8. Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Cole Memo

Letter from Amanda Marshall, United States Attorney, District of Oregon to U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer

November 8, 2013

Cole Memo Prosecutorial Guidance also applies to Industrial Hemp

“The Department expects that states that legalize the cultivation or use of cannabis, whether for industrial purposes, medical purposes, or otherwise, will establish and enforce strict regulatory schemes that protect the eight federal interests identified in the Department’s guidance”

Letter to Congressman Blumenauer

Agricultural Act of 2014, Section 7606: Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research (7 U.S.C. § 5940)

February 7, 2014

President Obama signs into law Section 7606 providing the authority for the research of industrial hemp by institutions of higher education and state Departments of Agriculture in states that have legalized the cultivation or research of industrial hemp.

(a) IN GENERAL Notwithstanding the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), chapter 81 of title 41, or any other Federal law, an institution of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20) or a State department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if—

(1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and

(2) the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the State in which such institution of higher education or State department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.

(b) DEFINITIONS In this section:

(1) AGRICULTURAL PILOT PROGRAM The term “agricultural pilot program” means a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp—

(A) in States that permit the growth or cultivation of industrial hemp under the laws of the State; and

(B) in a manner that—

(i) ensures that only institutions of higher education and State departments of agriculture are used to grow or cultivate industrial hemp;

(ii) requires that sites used for growing or cultivating industrial hemp in a State be certified by, and registered with, the State department of agriculture; and

(iii) authorizes State departments of agriculture to promulgate regulations to carry out the pilot program in the States in accordance with the purposes of this section.

(2) INDUSTRIAL HEMP

The term “industrial hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

(3) STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The term “State department of agriculture” means the agency, commission, or department of a State government responsible for agriculture within the State.

Agricultural Act of 2014, Section 7016

Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Section 539

December 16, 2014

During the 2015 fiscal year, Congress prohibited the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from using appropriated funds in contravention of Section 7606.

Section 539: None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (‘‘Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research’’) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration

Appropriations Act, 2015, Section 539

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 – Sections 543, 763

December 18, 2015

During the 2016 fiscal year, Congress prohibited DOJ and DEA from using appropriated funds in contravention of Section 7606 (Section 543). Congress also prohibited all federal agencies from using any appropriated funds in contravention of Section 7606 or to prohibit the prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated (Section 763).

Sec. 543. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sec. 763. None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be used–

(1) in contravention of section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 5940); or

(2) to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with subsection section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.

Appropriations Act, 2016, Sections 543 and 763

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/ DEA/ Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp

August 12, 2016

A statement of principles regarding the applicability of Federal laws to activities associated with growing and cultivating industrial hemp. “This Statement of Principles does not establish any binding legal requirements.”

USDA Statement of Principles – Industrial Hemp