UPDATE: Memo Repeals Federal Protection For Marijuana States

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo Thursday which ends an Obama-era policy protecting states with legalized recreational marijuana. The Obama administration instituted protections for states with legalized marijuana in 2013, protecting them from federal regulations, so long as state officials were able to keep marijuana from migrating to places where it was still illegal. The regulations also required states to keep the drug out of the hands of criminal gangs and children. The move will now allow federal prosecutors in states where pot is legal to decide how to enforce federal marijuana laws. After the news of the announcement broke, Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet both launched criticisms of the decision via twitter. Gardner tweeted that this action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told him prior to his confirmation. Gardner says he is prepared take all steps necessary, including holding up Department of Justice nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made prior to his confirmation. Michael Bennet says that in rescinding the Obama regulations, the Attorney General has failed to listen to the voters in Colorado. Bennet believes this decision will also create unnecessary chaos and confusion in the budding legal marijuana industry. After the memo was released, Colorado U.S Attorney Bob Troyer issued a statement saying, the attorneys office will continue to use “the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions”, which include “focusing in particular on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state.”

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