Sessions in the memo called the Obama guidance 'unnecessary.'Sessions' policy will let U. attorneys across the country decide what kinds of federal resources to devote to marijuana enforcement based on what they see as priorities in their districts.Officials couldn't say what the ultimate impact will be on the legal industry or whether it will lead to more pot prosecutions.Other states that allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use are Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada.
Sessions and some law enforcement officials in states such as Colorado blame legalization for a number of problems, including drug traffickers who have taken advantage of lax marijuana laws to illegally grow and ship the drug across state lines, where it can sell for much more.California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, vowed to 'vigorously enforce our state's laws and protect our state's interests.''In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis,' he said. After all, this is 2018 not the 20th century.'Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said her office was evaluating the potential impact of the change, while pledging to 'uphold and implement state law.'In Nevada, Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt affirmed his promise to protect the law, despite having opposed the ballot initiative that voters approved.Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, said the move 'inexplicably' directed federal law enforcement resources away from an opioid epidemic that she said was ravaging communities.Nor is it clear how the memo might affect states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes.A congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed.Instead of the previous lenient-federal-enforcement policy, Sessions' new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it.Sessions' plan drew immediate strong objection from Republican Sen.Others in Congress have been seeking ways to protect and promote legal pot businesses.Marijuana advocates quickly condemned Sessions' move as a return to outdated drug-war policies that unduly affected minorities.Oregon's governor, Democrat Kate Brown, said in a statement that more than 19,000 jobs have been created in her state in a legal market that officials had 'worked carefully to build in good faith and in accordance with the Cole Memorandum.'Last year, Oregon collected over million in state taxes related to the industry, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said, vowing to do protect the industry. attorney for Colorado, said in a statement his office would continue to be guided by the same principles that have long governed prosecution decisions: 'focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state.'The decision was a win for marijuana opponents who had been urging Sessions to take action.'There is no more safe haven with regard to the federal government and marijuana, but it's also the beginning of the story and not the end,' said Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who was among several anti-marijuana advocates who met with Sessions last month. It's going to dry up a lot of the institutional investment that has gone toward marijuana in the last five years.'Threats of a federal crackdown have united liberals who object to the human costs of a war on pot with conservatives who see it as a states' rights issue.Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said his state's pot laws keep criminals out of the market and stop the drug from reaching children or crossing borders to neighboring states.'We are going to keep doing that and overseeing the well-regulated market that Washington voters approved,' he said. Some in law enforcement support a tougher approach, but a bipartisan group of senators in March urged Sessions to uphold existing marijuana policy.