Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US Attorney General issues new guidelines for enforcing marijuana laws

US Attorney General issues new guidelines for enforcing marijuana laws

"'Because of the comments of the U.S. attorney, we are no longer able to use debit cards, '" Will Luzier of the Marijuana Policy Project of MA said.

Days after California began the New Year with the legalization of recreational marijuana use, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum rescinding Obama Era guidance on the prosecution of state legalized marijuana businesses.

When the U.S. Justice Department said last week it was reversing policy on the $7 billion marijuana business, it failed to first notify federal officials who advise banks in states where the drug is legal, sources in Congress said.

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Twenty-nine states, including California and ME, have approved the sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

If the federal government cracks down on states that have legalized recreational marijuana, don't blame Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In this way, the federal government announced that it would let these states deal with marijuana as long as they did not threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and targeting cartels.

A majority of states have decriminalized marijuana, made recreational use legal or approved medical marijuana, according to NORML, which tracks cannabis laws.

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A meeting between Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday did not result in the reinstatement of the Cole Memo, despite Sen.

"Trump needs to realize that a lot of his supporters are pro-cannabis and it would be extremely hurtful to them if he allowed Sessions to move forward with this".

And Congress didn't do anything to protect those states when the position of attorney general fell to Sessions.

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Rep. Niki Tsongas said while she didn't support the 2016 ballot question on marijuana it's clear that MA voters support full marijuana legalization. The frequency of violence committed by someone under the influence of marijuana is normally far below that of legal alcohol. A Sessions statement accompanying the appointment suggests he wants her to step up anti-drug enforcement.

MA and other states believed that Obama's wink and a nod with federal law enforcement would be honored by future presidents. It further articulated a position by the federal government that in states that had enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct, the federal government meant to take a "hands-off" approach regarding the enforcement of such conduct, which, over the past several years, has led to very few prosecutions and a growing marijuana economy. "Further, all the laws and regulations put in place governing the use of marijuana in our state clearly restrict it to a matter internal to the state of Colorado". It also took many by surprise at the Department of Homeland Security by barring people from some predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

But would they still go after illegal pot shops? The Obama administration preferred to duck a fight with state governments, while the Trump administration seems to be courting one.

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