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Attorney General Rescinds Obama-Era Marijuana Guidelines
08 January 2018, 02:46 | Franklin Nunez
President Donald Trump with his daughter Ivanka at the White House in Washington. Molly Riley Pool via Getty Images file
He says things will now be left up to federal prosecutors.
"Therefore, Thursday's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country". "You're not going to waste your resources on cases you can't win or cases your community is against". Effectively, Sessions has rescinded a 2013 guidance issued by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole that limited prosecutions as along as individuals and businesses were operating under their state's laws.
Buying Marijuana Nothing about the Sessions memo changed how a dispensary operates, and it didn't force any state-legalized marijuana industries to shut down. They had closed down several hundred before Congress intervened with budget restrictions that halted the lawsuits - one of them targeting Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the nation's largest licensed cannabis dispensary - as well as most federal criminal prosecutions.
Q: Will this make it harder for businesses that sell marijuana?
But the change will undoubtedly create some confusion and an uneven landscape, said John Walsh, the former USA attorney for Colorado appointed by Obama who left the office in 2016.
Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, an advocacy group for marijuana producers, sellers and customers, said a crackdown would prompt businesses to focus on medical marijuana and move some recreational pot sales underground. Cory Gardner of Colorado, which has permissive marijuana laws, threatened to hold up Trump administration appointees unless Sessions reverses course. "It's probably going to make people a little bit more cautious and it's going to cause some fights, but I think this is sort of the last fight that the prohibitionists may be putting up". "This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything within my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.
But Henry Wykowski, a San Francisco attorney who represents leaders in the marijuana industry, said Sessions' action would encourage lawlessness. Some issued written statements suggesting the change would not dramatically alter their approach to marijuana.
"It's going to be up to the new USA attorney, but we don't know what her position is on this yet". President Donald Trump hasn't nominated a replacement. State laws that legalizemarijuana are in conflict with federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin and LSD.
Since 2014, federal lawmakers have attached language to spending legislation that explicitly bars the Justice Department from spending resources to enforce cases in states where medicinal marijuana is legal.
The appointment of interim U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson was announced Wednesday.
On marijuana specifically, nearly nobody in politics is truly federalist.
Advocacy groups said the Sessions revision not only flouted the president's previous commitments to local democracy but also amounts to bad public policy.
"The cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana has always been and remains a violation of federal law for all purposes", she later said in a statement.
Arcview Group, an Oakland investment and market research firm that studies the cannabis industry, forecast an $11 billion USA market for legal marijuana this year - just over 60 percent for medical use, the rest for recreational use - and said it would continue to expand.
"If this is in any way accompanied by a changing of the guard through the appointment of very conservative, anti-marijuana candidates, that's a red flag", he said.
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