Washington, D.C. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo on Thursday which immediately rescinded the Obama-era policy of not prosecuting businesses and individuals who sell marijuana in accordance with state law.
AG Sessions stopped short of promising raids of marijuana businesses, but the change opened the door for federal authorities to raid and prosecute marijuana shops which are legal at the state level.
“Given the Department’s well-established general principles, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately,” AG Sessions wrote.
“I can’t sit here and say whether it will or will not lead to more marijuana prosecutions,” said an anonymous senior Department of Justice official told Politico. “We believe U.S. attorneys’ offices should be opened up to bring all of these cases that are necessary to be brought.”
The official added, “The Cole memo as interpreted created a safe harbor for the marijuana industry to operate in these states. There is a belief that that is inconsistent with what federal law says.”
Both Republican and Democrat members of Congress aren’t happy about the change, which contradicted President Trump’s statements that marijuana legalization should be left up to the states.
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