Washington, DC — California’s decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use just became a bit more complicated.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions put out a memo this morning directing all United States attorneys to reverse an earlier 2013 Obama administration directive that had discouraged the federal government from prosecuting marijuana crimes in state’s that have decided to legalize the drug.
Sessions says, “It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and 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.”
He further clarifies, “Today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs 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.”
The Associated Press reports that the move creates the possibility for federal prosecutors to crackdown on the legal pot industry, in places like California, but how it will play out remains unknown.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who is currently serving as acting Governor while Jerry Brown is away on vacation, says the state will pursue all legal and legislative options to protect its rules regarding marijuana. He calls it a “cynical war” against California.
You can read the memo from Sessions by clicking here.