What the Sessions Memo Means for Hemp, Medical Marijuana and You

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As long as Congress doesn't revise the law in accordance with the wishes of voters in at least 29 USA states, the Attorney General office is tasked precisely with applying it as is.

Since 2014, Congress has attached amendments to the Justice Department budget forbidding interference with laws in states that allow medical marijuana, a list that began with California in 1996 and has grown to 29 states and the District of Columbia, with a combined 60 percent of the USA population.

The move by Sessions has generated outrage among advocates for legal marijuana as well as some conservatives who believe the federal government shouldn't overrule the wishes of state government on issues like this.

"Going against the majority of Americans - including a majority of Republican voters - who want the federal government to stay out of the way is perhaps one of the stupidest decisions the Attorney General has made", Blumenauer said in a statement.

"We're moving forward as an industry and as a patient organization we're happy that things are moving forward here in Arkansas and we'll let things in D.C. play out as they will", he said.

Advocacy groups said the Sessions revision not only flouted the president's previous commitments to local democracy but also amounts to bad public policy. "California voters made a decision to legalize adult use of cannabis in 2016". The United States Attorney's Office in Colorado has already been guided by these principles in marijuana prosecutions - focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state. Many Oregon lawmakers and governor have stood up and said they will defend the state's cannabis laws.

"I couldn't immunize people through the policy, but it did give them a level of comfort that was enough for them to say, if I behave, we're basically going to be OK", Cole said. So far, marijuana is considered a drug as unsafe as heroine under US Federal Law. Federal agencies have "not historically devoted resources to prosecuting individuals whose conduct is limited to possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property".

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President Donald Trump, when asked about marijuana legalization on the campaign trail, said the issue would be left up to the states.

"That would be his top priority, and that is regardless of what the topic is, whether it's marijuana or whether it's immigration", Sanders told reporters. It did not waste enormous taxpayer dollars and resources by having the federal government go after non-violent marijuana users not involved in gangs or cartels. She did not elaborate.

Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said on Twitter that the administration's action "directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation".

Prosecutors in Western states wanted guidance from the Justice Department when the likelihood of state marijuana legalization became clear in 2010 and 2011.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms Attorney General Jeff Sessions decision to rescind the Cole Memorandum", Jones said in a statement issued late Thursday. They had closed down several hundred before Congress intervened with budget restrictions that halted the lawsuits - one of them targeting Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the nation's largest licensed cannabis dispensary - as well as most federal criminal prosecutions.

The Obama-era policy recognized marijuana as a "dangerous drug", but said the Justice Department expected states and localities that authorized various uses to effectively regulate and police it.

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