Trump administration drops Obama-era easing of marijuana prosecutions

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Announcing a "return to the rule of law", Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five key memos issued by the administration of president Barack Obama that discouraged enforcement of federal laws, which still classify marijuana as a unsafe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.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back guidelines that helped protect businesses in states where pot is legal.

"I'm not anxious. Everything we do here follows state laws, and everything is up to code".

According to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the state of Oregon received over $60 million in state taxes from the recreational marijuana industry.

Jones said Session's decision is contrary to good law enforcement practice for the federal Department of Justice to waste time and resources going after legitimate cannabis businesses and consumers in California. Colorado, Washington, California and several other states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, notwithstanding federal prohibitions.

The federal government made a statement against the marijuana industry Thursday.

"We're moving forward as an industry and as a patient organization we're happy that things are moving forward here in Arkansas and we'll let things in D.C. play out as they will", he said.

Rohrabacher wasn't the only Republican taking on Sessions. Sen.

"We don't know what this means", Durrett said of Sessions' comments.

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And Colorado's USA attorney, Bob Troyer, who was appointed to his office by Sessions in November, said Thursday that the attorney general's directive would not change his policy to prosecute only marijuana operations that "create the greatest safety threats to our communities". In 2012, Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics showed there were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession and only 256,000 for "cocaine, heroin, and their derivatives".

President Trump, who in other contexts has advocated "states' rights", provided a degree of support for his attorney general through spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Marijuana has never been legal under federal law, and it still isn't. She did not elaborate. Sessions has railed against marijuana for years.

"If they close down regulated access to cannabis, all they are doing is opening it up to the cartels and the black market", he said.

It was not immediately clear what practical effect the attorney general's decision would have in states that have legalized marijuana or on the increasingly sophisticated and lucrative legal pot industry.

The former senior Justice Department official behind the decision to harmonize federal prosecutions with state legalization efforts during the Obama told CNN in a phone interview Thursday that it's uncertain how Sessions' new memo will play out at the state level.

Whatever Elieson's feelings on the issue, marijuana business owners don't believe they're in immediate jeopardy.

"Parents should be able to give their sick kids the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted".

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. The analysis concluded that supply vastly outstrips demand, and that OR supplies much of the black market marijuana around the U.S.

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