Attorney Jeff Sessions is rescinding a policy that had let legalized marijuana flourish without federal intervention across the country, according to associated press.
Just three days after pot became legal in California, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has revoked the 2013 Obama-era policy which paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country.
The policy change would allow for each state’s U.S. attorneys to decide whether to aggressively enforce the federal marijuana law — even if the substance has already been made legal in their state.
Sessions new plan drew a quick objection from Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a Republican whose state legalized marijuana in 2014.
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.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018
A poll from October found that 64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
In the past, Sessions has criticized marijuana as comparable to heroin and has blamed it for spikes in violence.
In 2013 the Obama administration announced it would not stand in the way of states that legalize marijuana, as long as officials acted to keep it from migrating to places where it remained outlawed and keep it out of the hands of criminal gangs and children. The memo was written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole.
Marijuana has since been legalized in eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational use. The marijuana business has since then become a multimillion-dollar industry.
Sessions in the memo called the Obama guidance “unnecessary.”
Marijuana advocates condemned Sessions’ move, calling it injustice.
“Sessions wants to maintain a system that has led to tremendous injustice … and that has wasted federal resources on a huge scale,” said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “If Sessions thinks that makes sense in terms of prosecutorial priorities, he is in a very bizarre ideological state, or a deeply problematic one.”
“It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it, and it represents a federal violation, which is law and is subject to be enforced,” Sessions told The Sacramento Bee back in November on repealing the memo.