America's state-legal ganjapreneurs can breathe a little easier this week, and it's all thanks to Jeff Sessions (yes, you read that right).
While America's staunchly prohibitionist Attorney General wasn't removed from office — and he certainly hasn't changed his reefer madness opinions — Sessions admitted in a speech to Georgetown University law students this past Saturday that US Attorneys and the Department of Justice would not be pursuing "small marijuana cases."
Even before Sessions took over as America's top cop, the Alabama lawman has made anti-cannabis advocacy a sticking point of his political career. Since assuming the role as Donald Trump's Attorney General last year, Sessions has brought those views to the national stage, including his comparing cannabis to deadly drugs like heroin, continually threatening to sic federal law enforcement agencies on state-approved cannabis operators, and rescinding the Cole Memo, an Obama-era directive designed to protect state-level canna-business.
Now, according to the Associated Press, after a year of persistent worry, cannabis growers, retailers, and users across the country have one less thing to worry about, with a firm confirmation that Sessions and his cronies won't be barging through dispensary doors anytime soon.
"We're not going to be able, even if we desired, to take over state enforcement of routine cases that might occur," Sessions told Georgetown Law students on Saturday, Marijuana Moment reports. "Federal agents are highly paid, highly trained, and they work on cases involving cartels, international organizations, major distribution networks, large amounts of cash. And they deal with criminal organizations, RICO-type cases. And we're not out there prosecuting those cases every day."
Sessions reiterated that the DOJ's cannabis focus will remain on large-scale trafficking operations working outside of state laws. Because those black market interdictions were encouraged under the Cole Memo, it appears that Sessions' decision to remove the Obama-era guideline was only for optics, and did not signal a significant change in federal enforcement, as many marijuana providers and users had expected.
"I am not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that possession of marijuana is legal under United States law," Sessions said, according to the Associated Press. But, he added, federal prosecutors "haven't been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now."
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