On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally rescinded enforcement guidance that had been issued by the Obama Administration DOJ as far back as 2009. To simplify somewhat, that guidance had urged United States Attorneys not to enforce the federal marijuana ban against individuals who comply with state law, unless those individuals implicated some federal enforcement priority (e.g., by distributing marijuana to minors). The guidance – including the Cole II memorandum of 2013 – is discussed in the book (Marijuana Law, Policy, and Authority) at pages 343-353.
Here are the most relevant portions of the Attorney General’s brief statement:
“Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana. . . . [The prohibitions and corresponding sanctions] reflect Congress’s determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.
In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department[ of Justice’s] finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti originally set forth these principles in 2980, and they have been refined over time, as reflected in chapter 9-27.000 of the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual. [Read More at Vanderbilt University]
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