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It's been just over a month, and already the federal government is showing signs of enforcing its newly promised hard line on enforcement of marijuana laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no fan of the green stuff, and his attitude seems to be trickling down.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Monday night that U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, out of Las Vegas, is trying to crack down on the upcoming 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup. The event, planned for March 4 and 5, is set to be held on tribal land about 40 minutes outside of Vegas.
Bogden sent a note to the Moapa Paiute Tribe saying that Obama-era priorities, which allowed federal authorities to take local laws into account when enforcing laws against getting high, no longer applied. The primary document authorizing this was a 2011 memo by then-Deputy Attorney James Cole, which came to be known as the "Cole Memorandum."
"I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called 'Cole Memorandum' and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it," Bogden's letter states. "Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department's position on this issue... Nothing in the Guidance Memorandum [a different memo dealing with the relationship between tribal governments and U.S. Attorneys] or the Cole Memorandum alters the authority or jurisdiction of the United States to enforce federal law in Indian Country or elsewhere."
The tribe is currently talking to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada, trying to work something out.
The Cannabis Cup was held in Amsterdam for decades, but moved to the U.S. in 2013, as recreational marijuana laws loosened up in a few states. The headliner at this year's festival is Ludacris, and Chief Keef and B-Real are also scheduled to perform.