Cole updated the 2009 guidance. Again reminding federal prosecutors about
the need to make wise use of limited resources in exercising prosecutorial
discretion, Cole stressed that the notion of compassionate use by patients and
their caregivers was not designed as a shield to large commercial enterprises.
It wasn’t long after the first Cole memo that Colorado and Washington
states both passed ballot initiatives that permitted the use of marijuana for
other than purely medical needs, further changing the state-federal dynamic.
Once again, the DOJ responded. In late August 2013, the Deputy Attorney
General updated the guidelines, but again made it clear that, “marijuana
remains an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act and that federal
prosecutors will continue aggressively to enforce this statute.” To help federal
prosecutors, the memo identified eight specific priorities that should serve as
the basis to take action while also stressing that states needed to adopt strict
regulatory schemes to address these eight priorities. The priorities identified
by the DOJ at that time were:
1. Preventing distribution to minors;
2. Keeping proceeds out of the hands of gangs and cartels;
3. Stopping marijuana from crossing state lines;
4. Not letting marijuana be used as a cover for other illegal activities;
5. Preventing violence and the use of firearms in cultivation and distribution of marijuana;
6. Preventing drugged driving and other adverse health consequences;
7. Not allowing marijuana to be grown on public lands; and
8. Preventing possession or use on public property.