"Jeff Sessions' obsession with marijuana prohibition defies logic, threatens successful state-level reforms, and flies in the face of widespread public support for legalization", said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug reform advocacy group.
Jones said Session's decision is contrary to good law enforcement practice for the federal Department of Justice to waste time and resources going after legitimate cannabis businesses and consumers in California.
That statement includes rescission of the Cole Memo, issued in 2013 and long regarded as providing a safe haven by cannabis entrepreneurs.
People in the burgeoning industry say they are confused and uncertain after Attorney General Jeff Sessions shelved an Obama-era policy that advised authorities to tread lightly on enforcing marijuana laws in states that legalized weed. In his memo to prosecutors, he said they should file charges in marijuana cases based on "the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes in the community" - appearing to leave the door open to charging individual users as well as suppliers.
James Dunn covers technology, biotech, law, the food industry, and banking and finance.
The federal government made a statement against the marijuana industry Thursday.
The decision, which rescinds previous marijuana prosecution policies, comes just days after the State of California began legal recreation sales of marijuana on January 1.
Yet officials suggested to reporters Thursday that businesses and growers in legalized states have gotten too comfortable and that the primacy of state law means very little in Washington.
"The memo set out harms we saw associated with marijuana" but essentially said that otherwise "let's let the states deal with this", Cole told CNN. "Each US attorney now gets to decide what will and will not be prosecuted". "California voters chose to legalize adult use of cannabis in 2016". Session's memo repeals that Obama-era policy.
Troyer says his office has always focused on prosecuting marijuana crimes that "create the greatest safety threats" and will continue to be guided by that goal.
Here's how the Sessions memo affects five areas of Colorado's legal marijuana field.
Former Republican Maryland state delegate Don Murphy, who now works in conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the AG's move, presumably sanctioned by Trump, is odd considering the populist wave in favor of decriminalizing marijuana across the country-not only in blue states, but places like Arkansas, the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, and with 53 percent of the vote.
Rosenblum, who characterized Sessions' decision as overreach, made no indication of specific next steps other than she "valued her working relationship" with Williams and looked forward to working with him. They also declined to specify what message the attorney general is sending to the pot industry, which is expanding in states with their own more lenient laws. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump's top priority was enforcing federal law "whether it's marijuana or immigration".
"No matter what the (Trump) administration does, states will continue to hand out licenses to a long line of businesses clamoring for them", Dayton said.
"There needs to be a difference of view between medical marijuana and recreational use of marijuana", Governor Asa Hutchinson said.