The long-dreaded fear of a federal crackdown on marijuana sales in states that legalized the drug is alive and well.
Announcing a "return to the rule of law", Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five key memos issued by the administration of president Barack Obama that discouraged enforcement of federal laws, which still classify marijuana as a unsafe narcotic like heroin. "This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything within my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.
The state's former "marijuana czar", Andrew Freedman, said Sessions' only point was to create confusion but that the Justice Department can not force states to make pot illegal.
Alaska U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder said his office will continue to follow long-established principles in deciding which cases to charge, including following federal law enforcement priorities.
"Strong as we are on state's rights here in Texas", Williams said.
Gillibrand urged fellow lawmakers to support legislation she proposed that would "keep the federal government out of the way when doctors and patients decide that medical marijuana is the best treatment for them". That memo guided US attorneys that "the federal government has traditionally relied on state and local law enforcement agencies to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws".
While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law.
While you probably don't have to worry about getting swept up in a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration on your way home from the pot shop, according to state officials and pot attorneys, that doesn't mean you can start cutting corners with your basement grow, business plans and pot purchases.
Sessions said the previous guidance "undermines the rule of law".
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Medical marijuana is safe.for now.
The change, he said, removes "clarity and consistency" for an industry that depended on it.
Sessions drew a swift and angry response from Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who said the AG was "trampling the will of the voters".
"I am 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", Gardner wrote on Twitter.
Former Republican Maryland state delegate Don Murphy, who now works in conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the AG's move, presumably sanctioned by Trump, is odd considering the populist wave in favor of decriminalizing marijuana across the country-not only in blue states, but places like Arkansas, the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, and with 53 percent of the vote.
Most state and local officials are waiting to see what happens next, if anything. "Jeff Sessions doesn't seem to agree with that and I think it's all going to come to a head soon".
The new USA attorney in Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the Senate in mid-December, called marijuana "a risky drug" in his statement on Sessions' action.
Congress voted in its last session to extend a spending provision known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which blocks the Justice Department from using federal funds to impede the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.