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08 January 2018, 02:50 | Simon Arnold
Chris Kleponis-Pool Getty Images
"These principles require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community".
The Los Angeles City Council in December finalized and approved three ordinances that regulate the sale of recreational marijuana in the city.
"Therefore", he continued, "today's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all US attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country".
Recreational marijuana became legal for adults in California on January 1.
Back in 2013, as an increasing number of states began to legalize marijuana, Cole released a directive to federal prosecutors that essentially adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws. Cory Gardner of Colorado, which like Alaska and California has legalized adult recreational use of marijuana, said he was prepared to hold up the confirmation of Justice Department nominees if Sessions pursued his policy.
"It's going to hurt a lot of people if it does slow down, there are just too many people benefiting financially and with their health", said Steve Williams, a marijuana advocate for DFW NORML. She tallied more than 6,700 industry jobs, with hourly wages averaging more than $19. Federal prosecutors likely won't come after you for a cultivation unless you're growing and distributing marijuana on a large scale.and If you're growing on a scale that the DOJ would investigate, you're probably not going to listen to Sessions either way. This decision will create massive uncertainty, hurt local businesses and tax revenue, and harm public safety by driving cannabis activity back into the more unsafe black market.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat and co-chairman of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, called Sessions' decision "outrageous".
"I'm not anxious. Everything we do here follows state laws, and everything is up to code".
Advocacy groups said the Sessions revision not only flouted the president's previous commitments to local democracy but also amounts to bad public policy.
But the change will undoubtedly create some confusion and an uneven landscape, said John Walsh, the former USA attorney for Colorado appointed by Obama who left the office in 2016.
Under the state's medical marijuana law enacted in 2014, NY has 1,384 medical practitioners and 40,286 certified patients. Several cannabis dispensaries could not be reached for comment. The city of Coos Bay uses money gathered from pot sales to contribute to law enforcement programs like the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team, which provides drug education and enforcement to neighborhoods in Coos, Curry and parts of Western Douglas Counties. That environment will not change because of a memo from the attorney general, Little said.
"We have hundreds of millions of dollars invested, tens of millions of dollars in taxes we're anticipating that we've already budgeted, and thousands of employees making a good wage who will be affected", Segerblom said. They hoped to avoid a patchwork of prosecution strategies, Walsh said. In May, the state Employment Department estimated more than 3,500 people employed in marijuana-related businesses, with wages nearing $23 million.
Retail pot dispensaries might be the symbols of legal marijuana, but they're hardly the only potential targets in Sessions's war on the plant. But Arcview's leader, Troy Dayton, said the industry was resilient.
In short, Sessions is giving federal prosecutors around the country more discretion about enforcing federal law in marijuana cases, even in the states where it is legal.
Murphy has been working on getting a federal medical marijuana bill passed since 2000.
What Sessions repealed today is known as the "Cole memo".
Obama-era guidance gave low priority to prosecutions of medical marijuana dispensing under state law.
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