Sessions seeks to strike down Obama-era policy of tolerating state marijuana legalization

Jeff Sessions isn’t keeping under the radar.

The Attorney General on Thursday is set to rescind three Obama-era Justice Department memos that implemented a policy of non-interference with state laws that legalize marijuana.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File).

Two individuals with knowledge of the decision told the AP that Sessions will let prosecutors choose how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law.

The announcement will come mere days after the commercial sale of marijuana became legal in California, based on a measure approved by voters in November 2016.

In 2013, the Obama administration established priorities for federal prosecutors working in states where the drug is legal.

(Photo: Screen Capture).

Known as the “Cole memo” for then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, the policy instructed Justice Department officials to take a hands-off approach to marijuana as long as it didn’t affect other priorities, such as efforts against cartels.

Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, told federal prosecutors to avoid pursuing long sentences for low-level offenders. Sessions has reversed course, ordering prosecutors to seek the most serious charges against suspects in most cases.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster).

Sessions and local law enforcement have argued that marijuana legalization allows drug traffickers to hide in plain sight and leads to the drug’s illegal shipping across state lines.

It’s not known whether Sessions will revert to policies that existed prior to the Cole memo or will replace it with new guidelines.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster).

The expected change is prompting uncertainty in states where marijuana use is legal.


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