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Attorney General Rescinds Obama-Era Marijuana Guidelines

08 January 2018

When he rescinded the Justice Department's previous guidance on marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions left the issue to a mix of prosecutors who were appointed by President Donald Trump's administration and others who are holdovers from the Barack Obama years.

Terry Blevins, who is part-owner of a marijuana distribution company in California, says his phone rang off the hook Thursday with people concerned about a crackdown.

Whether to crack down on marijuana in states where it is legal is a decision that will now rest with those states' top federal prosecutors, many of whom are deeply rooted in their communities and may be reluctant to pursue cannabis businesses or their customers.

"We have hundreds of millions of dollars invested, tens of millions of dollars in taxes we're anticipating that we've already budgeted, and thousands of employees making a good wage who will be affected", Segerblom said.

Of particular note, Sessions said, "previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately". Prosecutors there have always focused on marijuana crimes that "create the greatest safety threats" and will continue to be guided by that, he said. He said USA prosecutors in the states where pot is legal can decide which marijuana activities to target.

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Q: How will this affect states that have legalized recreational marijuana?

Other state officials expressed disappointment.

Medical marijuana is safe.for now. Jones has been working to get more insurers into the market for insuring marijuana related businesses.

Sessions' decision feels vindictive and unreasonable, she said.

Coos County Sherriff Craig Zanni said, "This is now a federal issue related to a change of federal prosecutor's directives". The Obama era guidelines gave some leeway on this point, stating that prosecutors should leave states well enough alone when it comes to legalizing marijuana, as long as these local decisions didn't interfere with federal law enforcement primary directives.

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"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 tweeted Thursday.

Marijuana revenue has been used in many ways throughout the state.

But since taking office and appointing Sessions as Attorney General, Trump's been silent on the issue of marijuana.

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.

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.

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"Jeff Sessions' obsession with marijuana prohibition defies logic, threatens successful state-level reforms, and flies in the face of widespread public support for legalization", said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug reform advocacy group.

Attorney General Rescinds Obama-Era Marijuana Guidelines