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California Commissioner Condemns Session's Move Against Legal Pot

California Commissioner Condemns Session's Move Against Legal Pot”

While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law.

Medical Marijuana Patients Although Sessions's revocation included the Ogden memo, which protected state-compliant medical marijuana patients and caregivers from federal prosecution, it doesn't touch federal acts with measures that protect medical marijuana stakeholders.

In this new memo, Sessions permits USA attorneys to seriously enforce federal law - rescinding the Cole memo - in states where marijuana use is both illegal and legal. "These principles require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General".

That guidance is gone, effective today. What supporters have achieved is to pass a 2014 rider to the annual spending bill that has prevented federal funds from being used to prosecute medical marijuana cases in states that allow it. 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.

The change allows for each state's US attorney's to decide whether to aggressively enforce the federal marijuana law, even if it's also been made legal in their state.

The Cole memorandum states, "The department's guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat that those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests".

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In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual US attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions. "The voters of California and Los Angeles have spoken and we will continue doing our job of reasonably regulating the cannabis industry in spite of Washington running amok". "After all, this is 2018 not the 20th century", California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said his state will pursue "all legal, legislative and political options to protect its reforms and its rights as a state".

The appointment of interim U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson was announced Wednesday.

Congressional supporters want to expand that protection to cover nonmedical sale and use of marijuana by adults, now legal in eight states, including California, along with Washington, D.C. They plan to add that proposal to a spending bill that is needed by January 19 to keep the government operating, and said Sessions may have unintentionally helped their cause.

That reversed the election campaign stance by President Donald Trump favoring state marijuana laws, and set up a potential clash with the six U.S. states that have already moved ahead to legalize pot sales.

"My staff and state agencies are working to evaluate reports of the Attorney General's decision and will fight to continue Oregon's commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market", Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said.

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There has been a surge in legalization of marijuana at the state level in recent years.

Wykowski said the fear of prosecution "could make investors more concerned about putting money into the industry".

While lawmakers were quick to defend OR state law, Coos County cannabis dispensaries seem to be uncertain, but ultimately unworried about the changes.

The Los Angeles City Council in December finalized and approved three ordinances that regulate the sale of recreational marijuana in the city.

The change, he said, removes "clarity and consistency" for an industry that depended on it.

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