U.S. Attorneys Host Invite-Only Marijuana Summit in Portland

Federal prosecutors today hosted a one-day, behind-closed-doors summit with a list of participants, including key members of law enforcement, USDA and FDA officials, as well as anti-cannabis advocates.

Leading officials in cannabis law enforcement met in Portland on Thursday during an invite-only closed summit focused on marijuana. The event details were first reported by Marijuana Moment, who was able to obtain a copy of the meeting’s agenda.

According to Marijuana Moment’s report, the summit was hosted by Oregon’s U.S. attorney and held at the federal courthouse in Portland. The schedule included “Short presentations, moderated discussion and Q&A.”

“The goal of this gathering is to provide a sharing of perspectives on the current state of marijuana,” the agenda stated.

The day started with an introduction from the summit’s host, Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams. According to reports from the Oregonian, Williams is known to be an “outspoken critic of Oregon’s approach to marijuana legalization.”

Williams also serves as chairman of the Attorney General’s marijuana working group, made up of federal prosecutors from states where cannabis is legal. The Oregon U.S. Attorney also hosted a similar summit in 2018 after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded federal guidance on marijuana law enforcement.

Marijuana Summit Agenda

The first agenda item was a panel discussion led by a group of U.S. attorneys, including those representing districts in California, Washington, Florida, Colorado, and Vermont. Another panelist, Mike Stuart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, was also on the list.

Stuart has been an outspoken and even aggressive opponent of cannabis legalization. He held his own marijuana symposium last December to discuss the impacts of adult-use legalization.

Following the federal prosecutors’ panel, a discussion on the “Current and Future Landscape” of hemp and CBD was scheduled. The list of speakers included: Dr. Seth Crawford from the cannabis company Oregon CBD, Mai Dinh from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Peter Beckerman from the Food and Drug Administration, and Sunny Summers from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

An afternoon panel discussion on research, data, and impacts related to “Teen Use and Impaired Driving” was also on the schedule. The research discussion featured panelists Chuck Hayes from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Erica Schwartz, and Jess Neuwirth, a cannabis education coordinator from the Colorado Health Department.

The research panelists were also joined by outspoken anti-cannabis legalization advocate Kevin Sabet. As president of the anti-legalization group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Sabet has worked to influence top U.S. officials on cannabis policy.

On the same day as the marijuana summit, Sabet tweeted in response to a comment on the expanding employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.

“If you’re looking to be sued in the near future and commit federal felonies in the meantime, the ‘burgeoning cannabis industry’ is a *great* place to start,” Sabet tweeted.

Toward the end of the day, Oregon’s executive director of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program overseeing Oregon and Idaho, the chief postal inspector, and the sheriff of Jackson County (Oregon) were scheduled to discuss “current marijuana threats and trends.”

That session was followed with a discussion on “Economic and Justice Considerations,” which closed out the day. The scheduled panelists of the last discussion included Rachel Pross, MAPS Credit Union’s chief risk officer, who testified on behalf of the Credit Union National Association in July during a hearing by a Senate Banking Committee. The other panelist was the executive director of the NuLeaf Project, Jeanette Ward Horton.

You can review the full agenda, here.

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