Legalized marijuana use threatened as Sessions rescinds Obama-era directive that eased federal enforcement

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from The Washington Post,

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded several Obama-era directives that discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance.

In a memo sent to U.S. attorneys Thursday, Sessions noted that federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana, and he undid several previous Obama administration memos that advised against bringing weed prosecutions in states where it was legal to use for recreational or medical purposes. Sessions said prosecutors should use their own discretion — taking into consideration the department’s limited resources, the seriousness of the crime, and the deterrent effect that they could impose — in weighing whether charges were appropriate.

The move, first reported by the Associated Press, potentially paves the way for the federal government to crack down on the burgeoning pot industry — though the precise impact remains to be seen. It also might spark something of a federalist crisis, and it drew some resistance even from members of Sessions’s own party.

The U.S. attorney in Colorado, where marijuana already is legal, issued a statement saying his prosecutors had already been guided by the principles Sessions outlined, and would, “consistent with the Attorney General’s latest guidance, continue to take this approach in all of our work with our law enforcement partners throughout Colorado.”

Andrew Freedman, former director of marijuana coordination for the Colorado governor — he was known as the state’s “marijuana czar” — said he wasn’t surprised by the news from Washington because “Sessions always wanted to create chaos in the industry.”

Freedman said of the Attorney General, “I think he truly believes that marijuana legalization is a threat to how he sees drug policy in the world — which is a 1980s mind-set. That the best way to stop drug use is to criminalize it and put people in jail.”

Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis.

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