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

Lucy Bush
January 8, 2018

The former senior Justice Department official behind the decision to harmonize federal prosecutions with state legalization efforts during the Obama told CNN in a phone interview Thursday that it's uncertain how Sessions' new memo will play out at the state level.

Buying Marijuana Nothing about the Sessions memo changed how a dispensary operates, and it didn't force any state-legalized marijuana industries to shut down. "Each US attorney now gets to decide what will and will not be prosecuted. This is about public health", she said in a statement. In his memo to prosecutors, he said they should file charges in marijuana cases based on "the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes in the community" - appearing to leave the door open to charging individual users as well as suppliers.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose home state of Alaska has legalized recreational marijuana, also weighed in with a statement, saying Sessions' announcement-which she had repeatedly warned him against making-was "disruptive to state regimes and regrettable".

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. Session's memo repeals that Obama-era policy.

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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.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed an Obama-era memo to allow states to govern marijuana regulations. He later became a career state and federal prosecutor who has spoken favorably of a previous federal marijuana crackdown. Several Canadian marijuana-related stocks also fell.

The decision, which rescinds previous marijuana prosecution policies, comes just days after the State of California began legal recreation sales of marijuana on January 1. Legalization has given a shot in the arm to the industry, attracting investors looking to cash in on the green-rush scramble.

"There needs to be a difference of view between medical marijuana and recreational use of marijuana", Governor Asa Hutchinson said.

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Former Republican Maryland state delegate Don Murphy, who now works in conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the AG's move, presumably sanctioned by Trump, is odd considering the populist wave in favor of decriminalizing marijuana across the country-not only in blue states, but places like Arkansas, the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, and with 53 percent of the vote.

Although Sessions gave permission to prosecute marijuana cases, a Justice Department official believes that he did not demand prosecutions or threaten the marijuana industry, NBC reports.

"At the California Department of Justice we intend to vigorously enforce our state's laws and protect our state's interests".

The four companies who brought the lawsuit are contemplating next steps, McCarthy said. Now he's breaking that promise so Jeff Sessions can pursue his extremist anti-marijuana crusade. 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.

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Sessions revoked that document and others, citing the fact that pot remains illegal under federal law.

Other reports by Info About Network

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