Pot supporters concerned over federal marijuana law enforcement decision

Recreational marijuana is legal in eight states, but against the federal law

Jeff Sessions
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

BOSTON (WWLP)—Cannabis Control Commission Chair Steven Hoffman said a recent federal marijuana law enforcement decision hasn’t changed their job. But supporters of legal marijuana are concerned the move could discourage people from entering the legal pot industry in Massachusetts.

“We’ve got a job that was mandated by the voters of the state, and we’re going to continue to do that job and build and regulate this industry as well as we possibly can,” Hoffman said.

Recreational marijuana is legal in eight states, including Massachusetts. But it’s a federal crime to cultivate, distribute or possess marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week said he’d roll back an Obama-era policy that allowed prosecutors to loosen enforcement of pot laws in states with legal cannabis.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said he plans to enforce federal marijuana laws, and can’t guarantee certain marijuana industry participants will be immune from federal prosecution.

Supporters of legal marijuana are concerned the move could deter entrepreneurs from entering Massachusetts legal pot market.

“No applicant wants to, you know, have the specter of the FBI knocking on their door the day they open,” Marijuana Policy Project Spokesperson Jim Borghesani said.

Hoffman said he can’t comment on how this will impact companies coming to Massachusetts, but he expects investors will assess the risks.

Governor Baker is encouraging Lelling to focus his resources on the opioid epidemic.