WA on defensive as DOJ announces marijuana crackdown

Will new Justice Dept. guidance affect legal pot

Citing a March 2017 press session held in Richmond, Va., where Sessions stated the Cole memo "set up some policies under President Obama's Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid", Gardner now says the Attorney General has gone back on his word.

Fortunately, even as Sessions seeks to target legal marijuana, Congress is moving forward with legislation to thwart that effort.

But by Friday's close, the day after Sessions dropped his bombshell, USA marijuana stocks had recouped about half their losses. They are surrounded by attorneys who have spent their careers arguing federal cases before judges who can make their displeasure with a US attorney known in sentencing decisions and in the scheduling of cases. Regardless, the facts show that marijuana is a harmful substance and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has every right to enforce laws that are already enacted.

But what effect will this legislative change have? There has to be, for example, some link to interstate commerce or a federal question or the crime occurred on federal property.

USA attorneys around the country responded cautiously to Sessions' announcement.

The author of the Obama administration's policy, James Cole, told the AP it was meant to put states on notice that they had to regulate the industry and the federal government would still prosecute cases that threatened public safety.

"If they're going to drop those priorities and just say: "OK, we catch somebody smoking a joint and we're going to bust them" or 'We're going into a business that's legal under state law, but illegal under federal law, and take it down, ' that's wrong-headed", Frosh said.

Safety-sensitive industries that work with heavy machinery, such as construction or manufacturing, may be more likely to uphold these policies, Flores said.

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The federal government did not regulate marijuana until Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 at the urging of Harry J. Anslinger, who became the first commissioner of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930. "The federal government still has laws against it". Asked about the president's position Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he supports enforcing federal law.

But Michael Gordon, CEO and co-founder of Kush Tourism, which serves as a travel guide for cannabis tours, shops, accommodations and activities in states where marijuana is legal, said cannabis tourism is on track to be big business.

Maryland has licensed dozens of medical cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries. It's doubtful that any of them have the stomach for a case that would nearly certainly end up before the U.S. Supreme Court; the court that made same-sex marriage federally permissible probably would make a similar ruling where marijuana was concerned.

Grass Roots opened 13 years ago to sell medical marijuana.

Currently, most states allow medical use.

The prospect of an aggressive federal prosecutor swooping in isn't just a threat to marijuana businesses, but also anyone who does business with them, such as financial institutions or landlords. Along with Washington, D.C., 21 other states have approved the use of cannabis for medical use. He sees Sessions' action as a "political ploy", but says if the Justice Department carries it out, there could be harsh blowback from states. Harris has been a longtime opponent of legalizing marijuana and fought the legalization of the drug in Washington. It is now hardly considered extreme, for either the Democrats or Republicans, for politicians to suggest that adults should be able to make their own choices regarding whether or not they smoke marijuana.

The landscape has changed significantly since 2014, with at least eight states now permitting the recreational use of marijuana. It loosened the reins on federal prosecution for marijuana offenses. He is proudly stuck in the past and claims marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than drugs like heroin.

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