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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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded Obama-era guidelines that eased the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.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general principles, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately.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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