Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce Thursday that he is rescinding Obama-era guidance which paved the way for state-level marijuana legalization.
According to the Associated Press, Sessions will leave decisions on how to enforce federal drug laws up to federal prosecutors in the states where it has been legalized.
The move by President Donald Trump’s attorney general likely will add to confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where pot is legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it. It comes days after pot shops opened in California, launching what is expected to become the world’s largest market for legal recreational marijuana and as polls show a solid majority of Americans believe the drug should be legal.
Under the Obama administration, states voting to legalize cannabis - which the Drug Enforcement Administration maintains as Schedule 1 drug, alongside the likes of heroin and LSD - were not inhibited so long as they took measures ensuring the drug would not wander to areas where it remained illegal.
But Sessions has made more than one move so far to undo Obama-era guidance on the issue, leaving marijuana advocates convinced he is determined to preserve and unjust system:
Sessions “wants to maintain a system that has led to tremendous injustice ... and that has wasted federal resources on a huge scale,” said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “If Sessions thinks that makes sense in terms of prosecutorial priorities, he is in a very bizarre ideological state, or a deeply problematic one.”