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Published on Friday, January 5, 2018

U.S. Attorney General withdraws federal government’s non-enforcement stance against states with legalized marijuana

On Thursday, January 4, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo rescinding all guidance to federal prosecutors that minimized the priority of enforcement actions against states with legalized marijuana – either medical or recreational. These former guidance documents provided states with a framework to create a tightly regulated system for the production, distribution, and sale of legalized marijuana. States that chose to create these markets had the assurance that federal enforcement would not be a priority. Thursday’s action by Sessions removes that assurance and allows federal prosecutors to use their discretion in pursuing marijuana investigations and prosecutions.

The Sessions memo represents a significant change to federal marijuana policy. Governor Inslee, Washington State Attorney General Ferguson, and several bipartisan legislative leaders immediately responded that they will continue to support the voter-approved legalization efforts in Washington. AWC has continuously advocated for strong local control on marijuana issues and will continue to monitor and report to you on this evolving situation.

Categories: Marijuana