California Commissioner Condemns Session's Move Against Legal Pot

Their home state might have legalized the drug (and indeed, 29 USA states have passed medical marijuana laws so far, with 8 states, plus the District of Columbia, legalizing recreational use as well), but federal prosecutors and marshals are still well within their rights to arrest anyone found using or selling the drug.

The change allows for each state's US attorney's to decide whether to aggressively enforce the federal marijuana law, even if it's also been made legal in their state. And it said it won't speculate about federal decisions.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, long a supporter of medical marijuana, called the Sessions memo "a direct attack on patients".

"Attorney General Sessions has chose to use the power of the federal government to attack the ability of states to decide their own laws".

Senator Jeff Merkley said, "There is nothing to be gained from going back to an era when federal resources were wasted prosecuting nonviolent cannabis crimes". On January 4, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman made similar remarks at a press conference.

But the change will undoubtedly create some confusion and an uneven landscape, said John Walsh, the former US attorney for Colorado appointed by Obama who left the office in 2016.

The State of OR has had a lot of trouble recently with overproduction of cannabis leading to illegal exportation to other states. Brian Stretch and Joseph Harrington, the U.S. Attorneys for the respective districts, stated their opposition to legal pot even as the states where they work created the systems for selling retail marijuana.

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Since 2014, federal lawmakers have attached language to spending legislation that explicitly bars the Justice Department from spending resources to enforce cases in states where medicinal marijuana is legal. The goal, he said, was to encourage a tightly regulated industry letting legitimate businesses operate but keeping cartels and gangs out.

"What I think may happen is people who otherwise kept their heads down are going to have to stand up and speak out", charged Murphy. "This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything within my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.

"[He] did not tell any U.S. Attorneys to go after any businesses", Sillitoe said. Some issued written statements suggesting the change would not dramatically alter their approach to marijuana. Trump could nominate a replacement at any time or decide to keep Troyer, a career prosecutor and attorney.

Sessions is a longtime crusader against marijuana, a drug he has likened to heroin.

The memo also protected states from federal prosecution under the controlled substance act.

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

"The cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana has always been and remains a violation of federal law for all purposes", she later said in a statement.

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"The president believes in enforcing federal law - that's his top priority - regardless of what the topic is, whether it's marijuana or immigration".

Q: Will this affect medical marijuana?

"If this is in any way accompanied by a changing of the guard through the appointment of very conservative, anti-marijuana candidates, that's a red flag", he said.

Marijuana advocates say the push for legalization is still gaining momentum in the Lone Star state, and this could come down to a good ole fashioned battle over state's rights.

Thompson reported from Sacramento, California.

"Those people make decisions about which cases they can win and which cases are crucial", he said.

This story has been corrected to use the correct spelling of Brian Vicente's name.

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