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Attorney General Jeff Sessions re-introduces anti-marijuana laws

08 January 2018

Jars of medicinal and recreational marijuana sit on a shelf in a display case at Sweet Relief in Astoria.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new stance would allow federal prosecutors in states with marijuana programs to decide how aggressively to enforce federal laws.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said the Trump administration's move to end the legalization of non-medical marijuana is backwards and unproductive, business news channel CNBC reported.

Recreational marijuana became legal for adults in California on January 1.

"I feel at this moment there's still just a lot of questions to be asked", said Oscar Nelson, co-owner of Sweet Relief Natural Medicine.

One issue that may be potentially litigated is how the new memo affects medical versus recreational marijuana use.

But the emerging pot industry is rooted in shaky legal ground, complicating regulatory, financial and advertising issues.

Sessions takes a hard line against marijuana, having likened it to the illegal opioid heroin.

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Nelson made calls to the offices of Gov. Kate Brown and Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, but cautioned patience.

"And unfortunately, it's for reasons that I don't get excited about". "I feel that this is just part of this industry, and I feel hopeful that logic will prevail". And Sessions is giving broad discretion to USA attorneys to decide how aggressively to enforce marijuana law, among all the other demands on their time and limited resources.

However, it's not clear that the announcement will lead to drastic changes in the way that federal officials in OR handle pot. "After all, this is 2018 not the 20th century", California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

"My staff and state agencies are working to evaluate reports of the Attorney General's decision and will fight to continue Oregon's commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market", Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said. But in the aftermath of Sessions' decision, he seems to have backtracked from that position.

"This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything in my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.

In what became colloquially known as the "Cole memo", the department recognized that the drug was still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act but gave federal prosecutors permission to focus their resources elsewhere, so long as the states didn't threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and targeting cartels. The analysis concluded that supply vastly outstrips demand, and that OR supplies much of the black market marijuana around the U.S. Justice Department officials wouldn't say whether the move is intended for federal prosecutors to specifically target marijuana shops and legal growers. Cory Gardner of Colorado, which has permissive marijuana laws, threatened to hold up Trump administration appointees unless Sessions reverses course.

Stay on topic - This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. "This is a very bad thing and it's very unnecessary, considering what the president said publicly and that we are dealing with an opioid crisis right now", Don Murphy, who actually served as a delegate for Trump and volunteered on his campaign, told TAC.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions re-introduces anti-marijuana laws