Kind Leaf Dispensary dropped by East Oregonian after Sessions Rescinds Cole Memo
PENDLETON, Ore. - Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s rescinding the Obama no-interference federal policy on marijuana has prompted an Oregon newspaper to end their business relationship with a marijuana company.
Co-owner of Kind Leaf in Pendleton, Brandon Krenzler, received a visit from the East Oregonian, the area’s local newspaper. The paper had a business relationship with the company and ran advertisements for Kind Leaf in the publication. Krenzler was handed a letter from the East Oregonian detailing the Office of Attorney General’s Memo rescinding the Cole Memo and told they were ending the business relationship.
Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo on Jan. 4, thereby giving federal attorneys permission to prosecute people in legal marijuana states. The paper apologized for ending the relationship, citing the letter and possible consequences of being involved with the business.
In a Facebook post Krenzler says that Sessions putting pressure on news publications to cease doing business with marijuana companies hinders freedom of speech. He added that it also is an infringement on business owner’s rights and ability to advertise their legal business
It is against federal law for a newspaper to run advertisements for marijuana companies because of the federal ban on advertising illicit goods. Because the United States Postal Service delivers newspapers and because they are a federal agency, it would be against federal law to deliver newspapers with cannabis ads.
The Attorney General’s decision to revoke the Obama Era federal protection will force more news outlets to end advertisements with cannabis companies. It remains to be seen how federal prosecutors plan to enforce federal law and what businesses they will target, but it is likely that many businesses won’t take chances and will follow in the steps of the East Oregonian by severing ties with the cannabis industry.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.