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Prosecutors in pot-friendly states will decide on crackdown

Prosecutors in pot-friendly states will decide on crackdown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed an Obama-era memo to allow states to govern marijuana regulations. A USA attorney in Colorado said he would not change his approach toward marijuana prosecutions, while a US attorney in MA said he would pursue federal marijuana criminal cases.

Sillitoe said he doesn't expect prosecutors to start banging down his doors. "You're not going to waste your resources on cases you can't win or cases your community is against".

The announcement reversed a President Barack Obama-era memo, written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, discouraging prosecutors from pursuing marijuana-related charges in states - including OR and Washington - where it has been legalized.

The Oregon State Police a year ago released an analysis of the state's compliance with the Cole memo in light of legalization. He says things will now be left up to federal prosecutors. He said the federal government must "respect all of the decisions of the states when it comes to cannabis".

Lessar said, "The way I understand it the government just wants to be more involved in crimes like exporting and selling to children, which is not something I would necessarily be against, but we hear changes every day so it's still uncertain".

It was not immediately clear what practical effect the attorney general's decision would have in states that have legalized marijuana or on the increasingly sophisticated and lucrative legal pot industry.

Gillibrand urged fellow lawmakers to support legislation she proposed that would "keep the federal government out of the way when doctors and patients decide that medical marijuana is the best treatment for them". The goal, he said, was to encourage a tightly regulated industry letting legitimate businesses operate but keeping cartels and gangs out.

"I think Brown and OR won't be able to be so casual with this", he said. "This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything within my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.

USA attorneys in California paid little heed, continuing a campaign they had begun in 2012 to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries by suing their landlords.

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Therefore, he said, US attorneys should exercise "investigative and prosecutorial discretion in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations and appropriations". He threatened to play hardball, even putting a hold on all DOJ nominees, including Colorado's interim U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, if Sessions proceeds down this path.

The administration's action drew condemnation from marijuana legalization advocates and politicians in both parties in states where the drug has been legalized.

In California's Eastern District, newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney McGregor "Greg" Scott grew up in Humboldt County, deep in California's famed "Emerald Triangle" marijuana-growing region.

The move essentially shifts federal policy from the hands-off approach adopted under the previous administration to unleashing federal prosecutors across the country to decide individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in states where it is legal.

Scott's spokeswoman, Lauren Horwood, said he declined to comment on the most recent federal move.

"The president believes in enforcing federal law", Sanders said at Thursday's press briefing.

One issue that may be potentially litigated is how the new memo affects medical versus recreational marijuana use.

"If this is in any way accompanied by a changing of the guard through the appointment of very conservative, anti-marijuana candidates, that's a red flag", he said.

Owning a Marijuana Business In the wake of the Sessions memo, most of the media attention has focused on owners and players in the marijuana business, and for good reason: They actually have something to worry about.

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