Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind marijuana policy

Lindsey Graham: Investigate DOJ for Bias, No Agency Above Scrutiny

The new US attorney in Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the Senate in mid-December, called marijuana "a risky drug" in his statement on Sessions' action.

When Jeff Sessions announced his intention to rescind the Cole Memo, a Department of Justice policy telling prosecutors to leave legal marijuana states alone, many wondered what President Trump's response would be. Those principles include weighing the seriousness of a crime, deterrent effect of prosecution and the cumulative impact of crimes on a community.

Robert Troyer, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado and the man who decides how to enforce federal cannabis laws here, issued a statement shortly after Sessions issued his memo, saying that his office had already been operating under the principles Sessions outlined, and would continue focusing on the "greatest safety threats to our communities around the state".

James Dunn covers technology, biotech, law, the food industry, and banking and finance. He said the federal government must "respect all of the decisions of the states when it comes to cannabis".

Other state officials expressed disappointment.

"In the short term, this news will further scare away investors, which will, in turn, slow down cannabis entrepreneurship", said Nicolas Ruiz, co-founder of Cloudponics, a San Francisco startup whose technology can be used to grow marijuana.

Some prosecutors in legalization states issued statements on how they would proceed. The memo discouraged prosecutors from going after people participating in the marijuana trade in states where recreational marijuana is legal, except in cases with aggravating factors.

And Colorado's US attorney, Bob Troyer, who was appointed to his office by Sessions in November, said Thursday that the attorney general's directive would not change his policy to prosecute only marijuana operations that "create the greatest safety threats to our communities".

In every state where marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes, local voters at their respective ballot boxes overwhelmingly supported the move.


Former Republican Maryland state delegate Don Murphy, who now works in conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the AG's move, presumably sanctioned by Trump, is odd considering the populist wave in favor of decriminalizing marijuana across the country-not only in blue states, but places like Arkansas, the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, and with 53 percent of the vote.

The immediate reaction to Thursday's news from the marijuana industry and some members of Congress was alarm.

In a 2016 interview with a local reporter in Colorado, which legalized recreational cannabis five years ago, then-candidate Trump insisted he would not allow his AG to override state law by prosecuting marijuana businesses and growers. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner stated shock at the decision, as it would apparently contradict private assurances received from Mr. Sessions before his appointment.

Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus wishes to see legal marijuana continue to flourish.

"What Jeff Sessions wants to do is roll back all of that". They said it trampled on the rights of voters in those states and created uncertainty about how strictly federal drugs laws will be enforced.

Medical marijuana is safe.for now.

"We use the money we get from marijuana sales to fund our school resource officer and to bring in a D.A.R.E officer to speak to the schools", North Bend City Administrator Terence O'Connor said.

Sessions' new memo does not explicitly set forth how prosecutors should treat medical marijuana, though a senior Justice official explained that prosecutors wouldn't do anything contrary to any current federal law.

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