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article imageU.S. to rescind policy that has let legalized marijuana flourish

By Karen Graham     Jan 4, 2018 in Politics
Washington - Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
It looks like the new year is starting off with more than just a "weather bomb" hitting the East Coast. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is apparently going to drop another kind of bomb, aimed at the legalized marijuana industry now flourishing in a number of states.
The two people who spoke with the Associated Press did so on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss it before an announcement expected on Thursday.
Should the announcement come out today, it will lead to a lot of confusion, particularly with US attorneys in states where marijuana is legal - They will have to decide whether they will vigorously enforce federal marijuana laws. On top of this, there will be a lot of confusion on whether it's legal to grow, buy, or use marijuana in states where it's legal since long-standing federal law prohibits it.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of the first senior Republican politicians to endorse Donald ...
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of the first senior Republican politicians to endorse Donald Trump before last November's election and was rewarded by being appointed America's top law enforcement officer
WIN MCNAMEE, GETTY/AFP/File
Marijuana Moment points out that on the campaign trail, Donald Trump "pledged to respect state laws," but Sessions, even as a state senator has long been an opponent of legalized marijuana, so even though he said "earlier Obama marijuana policy was valid and valuable" during his Senate confirmation hearing, he added the Department of Justice was reviewing potential changes.
At the center of Sessions' attack is the "Cole Memo," so named after the former Obama Justice Department deputy attorney general who authored it in 2013. Basically, it states that federal marijuana laws will be enforced under the Controlled Substances Act and that federal prosecutors will continue to aggressively enforce this statute.
However, the memo also states: "Outside of these enforcement priorities, however, the federal government has traditionally relied on state and local authorizes to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws. This guidance continues that policy."
In November 2017, Sessions testified before Congress, noting the Cole Memo was still in effect but he told reporters at a briefing that the department was conducting talks to change the policy. Last month, Sessions held a closed-door meeting with anti-legalization activists who pushed for him to step up enforcement of the federal law.
“There is no more safe haven with regard to the federal government and marijuana, but it’s also the beginning of the story and not the end,” said Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who was among several anti-marijuana advocates who met with Sessions last month. “This is a victory. It’s going to dry up a lot of the institutional investment that has gone toward marijuana in the last five years.”
More about Marijuana, cole Memo, obamaera policy, jeff sessions, DOJ review
 
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