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Justice Dept. Cracks Down on Legal Marijuana

by Countable | 1.4.18

What’s the story?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded Obama-era guidelines that eased the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

The Obama administration’s policy was to not challenge state laws that allowed medical and recreational use of marijuana—even though pot remains illegal under federal law.

In a one-page memo sent to federal prosecutors, Sessions said:

"Given the Department's well-established general principles, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately.

Why does it matter?

The announcement comes the same week that California legalized recreational marijuana sales, joining Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts.

A Justice Department official said the Obama administration guidelines had "created a safe harbor for the marijuana industry to operate in these states and … there is a belief that that is inconsistent with what the federal law says."

Sessions said future prosecutions would be at the discretion of individual U.S. attorneys.

Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner tweeted his disappointment at the move:

In another tweet, Gardner added he’s "prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation."

What do you think?

Do you agree with Sessions’ move? Or do you agree with Gardner that "this must be left up to the states"? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your comments below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: MmeEmil / iStockphoto)

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Written by Countable

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(103)
  • SSyar
    01/04/2018
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    I thought conservatives hated federal government overreach when it came to states’ rights? Regardless, the majority of people know the war on drugs has failed and want marijuana to be legal! This is only helping for-profit prisons, which need to be banished.

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  • Mike
    01/04/2018
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    Legalize Cannabis and Hemp nationwide for recreational and medical use NOW! Anyone that opposes this Republican or Democrat does not have my vote.. this issue is a dealbreaker.. it’s a freaking PLANT!! Please tell Sessions to shake the reefer madness mentality and there is big business in helping people with cannabis. Support Jeff Lucas in his advancing of medical pot in Indiana.. NOW! Thank you.

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  • Dave.Land
    01/04/2018
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    This is conservative hypocrisy in action. Did they learn NOTHING from the 18th and 21st amendments? So-called conservatives are all for states' rights when it comes to legalizing gender discrimination by Christians, for example, but they forget all about their "small government" jabbering when they get a chance to put their boots on the necks of the people. Please voice your opposition to this ridiculous ruling. Leave this decision to the states.

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  • Jack
    01/04/2018
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    Conservatives believe in enforcing the law. As long as weed is illegal federally it is the department of justice job to enforce the law. Until the law is changed they are doing their duty. Any claims that this is somehow hypocritical of them is nonsensical.

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  • Linda
    01/04/2018
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    Another attack on an Obama action. Again, these reversals are wrong. AG Sessions’ war on drugs should not include marijuana. There are deadly drugs whose sell & use need to be his focus. Fentanyl and cocaines, for example.

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  • Danielle
    01/04/2018
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    Stupid. Short sighted. Hypocritical. Fight back on this.

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  • Jesse
    01/05/2018
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    Voters have already decided i this issue in many states. Overturning the legalization of marijuana there is a direct violation of the will of the people. I believe it’s the duty of a representative to protect the people’s choices and decisions.

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  • Isabelle
    01/05/2018
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    The regulation of marijuana should be returned to Obama era regulations. We as a country and world are moving toward legalization, and as with many socially progressive movements throughout our nation’s history, the states should be able to move more progressively than our nation is. This new action by DoT directly contradicts the will of the people and the principles of Republican government.

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  • Sean
    01/04/2018
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    The Marijuana industry is one on the rise. With more and more states realizing the benefits of controling and taxiing the substance like alcohol and tobacco. As more and more states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana, it is obvious that the people there want the legalization of marijuana use. Small business owners and growers WANT to pay their taxes and be able to accept various forms of payment other than cash, but are hundred by the backwards thinking of the conservative federal government. Studies have shown that more people die from either alcohol abuse or cigarettes than they do from marijuana use. The federal government needs to reflect the will of the people in those states that have legalized it, and I would suggest that they join the growing trend and lift the ban altogether to make it easier for businesses to pay their taxes and create another form of revenue for the state and federal government.

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  • David
    01/05/2018
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    Another broken TRUMP promise make marijuana a schedule two drug". GOP all liars , making decisions on 1980 law 40 years old. And the FED has its head up its ass and Jeff Session is a old man with no clue ❗️again another reason to vote GOP out of office ❗️

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  • OlderNWiser
    01/05/2018
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    While tobacco and alcohol are legal, the profoundly useful medicinal Plant, cannabis, is being used as a tool of oppression by the most corrupt US Administration of unthinking, hypocritical, ignorant, racist, autocratic minions of Vladimir Putin as a Jim Crow tool for the prison for profit industry. We’re beginning to make apartheid S Africa looks good in comparison to our dictatorial plutocratic budding dictatorship. Pun intended.

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  • DannybAZ
    01/04/2018
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    So this is all about keeping the for profit prison industry happy? They have contributed Bigly to Congressional races, BLOTUS and lobbyists line the pockets of all elected officials. Oh, good collateral benefit - poor and people of color voter suppression. Big win-win for these moneyed slime balls ruin...er running our country.

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  • Christine
    01/05/2018
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    Can someone investigate why big government is ok when it suits racist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic republicans but not ok for healthcare for children and adults or for Dreamers, etc?

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  • Emmet
    01/05/2018
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    No one should be surprise by Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration‘s new attack on legalizing marijuana initiative. That dOes not mean we have to accept it. It’s time the federal laws rewritten to reflect the changing times and sentiment of the American people. I want all my congressional representatives from the state of Oregon to be on notice that I support the legalization of marijuana and that I vote.

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  • Promise
    01/05/2018
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    It will never cease to amaze me how hypocritical some GOP reps are. I’m really tired of the double talk on these issues. They have a simple bullet point message which sounds good, but upon closer inspection is a crap sandwich. Trying to fire up your base with negative messages is starting to back fire. The people are starting to see through your smoke and mirror campaigns. Since none of you have the political will to raise taxes, which you are going to have to do, legalize this drug. Tax it and regulate it. I think the American people would be ok with that. Have the taxes fund the health care you just cut. Or the military, whatever, just stop being authoritarian jerks.

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  • KenBudris
    01/04/2018
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    This should be left up to the states—just like alcohol.

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  • Shannon
    01/05/2018
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    This will either bring the parties together to sign legalization into law, or it will destroy any chances for the Republican Party in 2018. Hope they choose wisely.

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  • John
    01/04/2018
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    This is something that should be handled at the state level and not at the federal level. The federal government has its hands in states business too much.

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  • Laura
    01/05/2018
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    Big Pharma is behind this. They do not want marijuana to be legalized because it is cheap(er), there’s no need for research and marketing, and it actually helps patients (with little to no side effects). Do pharmaceutical drugs get taxed the way legalized marijuana has? Tobacco? Alcohol? Hamburgers?

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  • Hillary
    01/05/2018
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    Sessions wants to quash states rights under federal rights in regard to marijuana use. Is this not the same guy who wants to protect the states right to limit or abolish abortion over the federal law that protects the legality of a woman’s right to choose? What a hypocrite! You can’t play on both sides. Either you favor states rights OR you favor federal rights. I don’t smoke marijuana myself but it is none of my business if anyone or everyone else does. Who’d have thought Sessions would be the one who could bring out the young people’s vote?!

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