Sessions says despite rules change federal prosecutors will not take ‘small marijuana cases’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Saturday that the Justice Department would not pursue “small” marijuana offenses, even after he reversed an Obama-policy that had paved the way for the cannabis industry to proceed uninterrupted in states that legalized the substance.

“I am not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that possession of marijuana is legal under United States law,” Sessions told students at Georgetown University Law Center, according to The Associated Press

But, he said, federal prosecutors “haven’t been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now.”


Sessions rescinded in January the so-called Cole memo, which discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing marijuana-related charges in states that had voted to legalize the substance.

The decision to reverse that policy drew the ire of lawmakers and officials from states that have legalized marijuana, who worried that Sessions’s decision to rescind the memo was the first step toward a federal crackdown on the industry.

So far, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and dozens have approved medical cannabis.

While some states have legalized marijuana, it remains a Schedule I federally controlled substance, the same class as heroin and LSD. 

Tags Cole memo Jeff Sessions Marijuana

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