Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era federal policy that provided legal shelter for marijuana sales in states that have allowed recreational pot, placing thousands of marijuana businesses in California and other states operating legally under state law at risk of federal raids and seizures.
The Justice Department move plunged California’s fledgling recreational pot market into further uncertainty, and was met with a bipartisan backlash from lawmakers in states where marijuana is now sold legally to any adult who wants to buy it.
"It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States,” Sessions said in a statement, which said the Obama-era policy that directed federal prosecutors not to target state marijuana businesses “undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission."
Sessions said the new Justice Department policy “simply directs all U.S. 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."
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My full statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' harmful and destructive attempt to revive the failed war on drugs.
Calling on our federal leaders to move quickly to protect states’ rights from the harmful effects of this ideological temper tantrum by Sessions. pic.twitter.com/96xtRx6OYE
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 4, 2018
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 4, 2018