Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.
The move now injects uncertainty into the growing industry in the regions of the country that have legalized the drug, CBS News’ Jeff Pegues points out. Many are likely to be confused about whether it’s okay to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it’s legal, since the long-standing federal law prohibits it.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but eight states, including California, Colorado and Washington, D.C. have legalized the drug. Twenty-eight states permit some form of medical marijuana usage.
The federal perspective, however, has never changed.
“It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law,” Sessions said in a statement.
“Therefore,” he continued, “today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”
In short, Sessions is giving federal prosecutors around the country more discretion about enforcing federal law in marijuana cases, even in the states where it is legal.
Sessions told reporters Thursday that the Obama guidance in the Cole memo — written by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole — wasn’t consistent with federal law.
“It was interpreted as a safe harbor for individuals,” Sessions said. “This memo does not have safe harbors in it.”
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Alex D is a conservative journalist, who covers all issues of importance for conservatives. He writes for Supreme Insider, Red State Nation, Defiant America, Right Journalism, Conservative US. He brings attention and insight from what happens in the White House to the streets of American towns, because it all has an impact on our future, and the country left for our children. Exposing the truth is his ultimate goal, mixed with wit where it’s appropriate, and feels that journalism shouldn’t be censored. Join him & let’s spread the good word!