When Jeff Sessions announced his intention to rescind the Cole Memo, a Department of Justice policy telling prosecutors to leave legal marijuana states alone, many wondered what President Trump's response would be.
Recreational marijuana just became legal in California earlier this week, and it already looks like things might be going up in smoke.
That reversed the election campaign stance by President Donald Trump favoring state marijuana laws, and set up a potential clash with the six U.S. states that have already moved ahead to legalize pot sales. Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. "I can't sit here and say whether or not it will or won't lead to more marijuana prosecutions", one anonymous official said.
It's worth noting that the Rohrbacher-Bluemenauer amendment must be approved each year, so it will come up for a vote again this year.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose home state of Alaska has legalized recreational marijuana, also weighed in with a statement, saying Sessions' announcement-which she had repeatedly warned him against making-was "disruptive to state regimes and regrettable".
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Q: Will this make it harder for businesses that sell marijuana?
In what became colloquially known as the "Cole memo", the department recognized that the drug was still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act but gave federal prosecutors permission to focus their resources elsewhere, so long as the states didn't threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and targeting cartels. "This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything within my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.
"It's going to hurt a lot of people if it does slow down, there are just too many people benefiting financially and with their health", said Steve Williams, a marijuana advocate for DFW NORML. "We will, consistent with the Attorney General's latest guidance, continue to take this approach in all of our work with our law enforcement partners throughout Colorado".
The federal perspective, however, has never changed.
Most state and local officials are waiting to see what happens next, if anything.
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It's unclear now how the Justice Department's move will impact recreational and medical marijuana markets around the country.
The investment marijuana business owners have made into their businesses could be their best defense under potential changes in marijuana enforcement, the Colorado Attorney General says.
The change, he said, removes "clarity and consistency" for an industry that depended on it.
"Strong as we are on state's rights here in Texas", Williams said. She has not publicly said what her position will be on marijuana and did not immediately respond Thursday to messages.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, long a supporter of medical marijuana, called the Sessions memo "a direct attack on patients".
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"The president believes in enforcing federal law - that's his top priority - regardless of what the topic is, whether it's marijuana or immigration".