Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind marijuana policy

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Announcing a "return to the rule of law", Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five key memos issued by the administration of president Barack Obama that discouraged enforcement of federal laws, which still classify marijuana as a unsafe narcotic like heroin.

Grant Osborn replaces a jar of marijuana to the display case at Sweet Relief in Astoria. I am a states person.

On one hand, local laws legitimize businesses, which bring significant extra income into states' coffers.

"In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department's finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well established principles that govern all federal prosecutors", Sessions said.

By Thursday afternoon, one US attorney in a key jurisdiction said Sessions' new guidelines wouldn't change federal enforcement there.

Medical marijuana became legal in Nevada in 2015, and recreational pot sales won voter approval in November 2016.

Congress voted in its last session to extend a spending provision known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which blocks the Justice Department from using federal funds to impede the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The tone set by Sessions today puts people in those states on notice as well. As long as Congress doesn't revise the law in accordance with the wishes of voters in at least 29 U.S. states, the Attorney General office is tasked precisely with applying it as is.

According to Forbes, 2017 marijuana sales totaled $6.7 billion in North America. Before Sessions' announcement, experts predicted the USA market might reach $50 billion by 2026. But Arcview's leader, Troy Dayton, said the industry was resilient.

"This is a direct betrayal of President Trump's campaign promise, which he made in Colorado", Kopel told TAC on Thursday.

The weed business has bloomed into a multi-million dollar industry.

Those guidelines essentially instructed the prosecutors to steer clear of legal, well-run businesses. "In fact, they don't even need to convict, they just need to start sending threatening letters to landlords".

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Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, tweeted that the issue "must be left up to the states", ran counter to what he had been previously told by Sessions and threatened to hold up confirmation of DOJ nominees. Gardner suggested Sessions had assured him of a continued "hands-off" approach during the former Alabama senator's own nomination hearing.

But since taking office and appointing Sessions as Attorney General, Trump's been silent on the issue of marijuana.

Obama-era guidance gave low priority to prosecutions of medical marijuana dispensing under state law.

Marijuana advocates said the Obama administration policy hadn't had a long-lasting effect on use or regulation of the drug, and the Trump administration probably won't either. Right now 12 are poised to consider new laws in 2018. "The voters of California and Los Angeles have spoken and we will continue doing our job of reasonably regulating the cannabis industry in spite of Washington running amok".

"What Jeff Sessions wants to do is roll back all of that". "I want the Trump administration to stand by its promises". The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment now protects state-compliant medical marijuana patients, caregivers and businesses from federal persecution, but it is only in effect until January 19; after that it will be reconsidered by a House-Senate conference committee.

The announcement reversed a President Barack Obama-era memo, written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, discouraging prosecutors from pursuing marijuana-related charges in states - including OR and Washington - where it has been legalized.

"My staff and state agencies are working to evaluate reports of the Attorney General's decision and will fight to continue Oregon's commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market", Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said.

However, it's not clear that the announcement will lead to drastic changes in the way that federal officials in OR handle pot. This includes veterans, who have been choosing cannabis over prescription pills to treat symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I think Brown and OR won't be able to be so casual with this", he said. "The 10th Amendment says what it says", he said, noting that as a conservative he's been able to appeal to other Republicans on states' rights grounds alone.

Q: Will this make it harder for businesses that sell marijuana? "Jeff Sessions doesn't seem to agree with that and I think it's all going to come to a head soon".

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