Murkowski joins several Democrats in challenging proposed pot enforcements

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. (Photo by Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media)

A group of U.S. senators – including one Alaskan – is asking the Justice Department to keep existing guidance on marijuana laws.

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The request came in a letter signed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Elizabeth Warren, D-Ma., and nine other senators. They asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue upholding the Cole Memo — a 2013 document stating that Federal officials will not take enforcement action in states that have opted to legalize and regulate cannabis.

States like Alaska, Colorado and Washington have looked to the Cole Memo for guidance in implementing recreational cannabis industries in recent years.

The senators’ letter said “sensible drug policies” can ensure that “state infrastructure, including tax revenue, small businesses and jobs can be protected.”

Their letter comes just a week after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the public could expect to see “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws.

That’s at odds with statements made on the campaign trail by then-candidate Donald Trump, who said the issue should be determined by states.

Murkowski was the only Republican to sign.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan did not join the letter, but his spokesman said Sullivan thinks the federal government should defer to state law and the will of the voters on marijuana enforcement.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah

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