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Trump Supports Sessions' Marijuana Decision, Breaking His Campaign Promise
08 January 2018, 04:59 | Lucy Hill
Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Credit Mark Reinstein Shutterstock
"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 prosecutions", Sessions said in a memo to all federal prosecutors.
Today, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions issued a memo that rescinds previous Department of Justice guidance on marijuana enforcement - which mainly directed enforcement at criminal enterprises. Sessions is leaving it up to federal prosecutors in states that allow its sale and use to decide whether to crack down on the marijuana trade.
"The previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission", wrote Sessions, according to NBC.
That reversed the election campaign stance by President Donald Trump favoring state marijuana laws, and set up a potential clash with the six USA states that have already moved ahead to legalize pot sales.
States and localities - not federal prosecutors - would be responsible for low-level pot dealing and use, one of Cole's memos said.
"We don't know what this means", Durrett said of Sessions' comments.
Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel with the Marijuana Policy Project, said prosecutors previously had discretion.
"At the Oregon Department of Justice we will continue to make sure Oregon's marijuana industry thrives under our carefully considered state regulatory requirements".
"One wonders if Trump was consulted - it is Jeff Sessions after all - because this would violate his campaign promise not to interfere with state marijuana laws".
Another 21 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, including red states like Arkansas, which passed its ballot referendum in 2016, and Florida, which put its own measure over the top by a whopping 71 percent at the polls.
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It also prompted the resignation of the chairman of the state's Marijuana Control Board, who said the decision strips away the underpinning for the legal marijuana industry in Alaska.
But rescinding the Obama policy could have a chilling effect on the burgeoning marijuana legalization movement.
But at Green Dragon, Levine said the move won't cause any changes and they won't slow growth plans or scale back any operations.
Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney who co-wrote Colorado's 2012 constitutional amendment legalizing recreation marijuana, said the industry will closely examine the background of any new USA attorney nominees.
The weed business has bloomed into a multi-million dollar industry.
"Jeff Sessions told me this wouldn't be a priority".
The move by Sessions has generated outrage among advocates for legal marijuana as well as some conservatives who believe the federal government shouldn't overrule the wishes of state government on issues like this.
"President Trump has recognized medical marijuana as an appropriate exception to federal enforcement policy, but he has not said the same thing about recreational use", he said. His legislation has support on both sides of the aisle, he insists, but members who oppose it have kept it from coming to a floor vote.
The appointments are temporary, but the prosecutors could be named permanently as Sessions fills the vacant slots.
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