Dem lawmaker rips marijuana policy change: Sessions 'wants to take America back to the 1920s'

Dem lawmaker rips marijuana policy change: Sessions 'wants to take America back to the 1920s'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Thursday ripped Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsA better way to run the Federal Bureau of Prisons Trump admin erases key environmental enforcement tool DOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda MORE’s decision to roll back an Obama-era policy that allowed states to legalize marijuana, likening it to Prohibition.

“AG Jeff Sessions apparently wants to take America back to the 1920s. Prohibition didn’t work then and it will not work now,” Lieu tweeted. 

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Sessions earlier Thursday moved to rescind the so-called Cole memo, which ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases.

Sessions, a vocal critic of marijuana legalization, has hinted for months that he would move to crack down on the growing cannabis market.

It was not immediately clear when Sessions will formally revoke the agreement, authored in 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

The new policy sets up a battle between the federal government and states that have legalized the drug for recreational use.

Lieu represents a district in California, which on Monday became the sixth state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. 

CNN reported hundreds of people lined up Monday morning at dispensaries to purchase the drug. The policy was expected to create a new business opportunity for some entrepreneurs, with analysts putting the North America cannabis market at $10 billion in annual sales. 

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic field narrows with Inslee exit Inslee seeking third term as governor after ending presidential bid MORE (R-Colo.), whose home state allows the sale of recreational marijuana, also criticized the decision, saying it should be left up to individual states.