Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave U.S. attorneys the green light Thursday to aggressively enforce federal laws against marijuana — even in states where pot is legal.
In doing so, Sessions reversed an Obama administration policy that shielded legalized marijuana from federal intervention and enabled the pot industry to flourish.
“The previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” Sessions wrote in a three paragraph memo.
Sessions wrote that he is simply directing “all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”
Federal law prohibits growing, buying and using marijuana. But while Sessions gave permission to prosecute marijuana cases, a Justice Department official stressed that he did not explicitly call for that. Nor did Sessions say federal prosecutors should now go after the industry.