The department issued a statement on Thursday outlining its stance on federal marijuana enforcement policy, telling all US attorneys to enforce the Controlled Substances Act, a law on the books since 1970 which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday rescinded guidelines established by his predecessors that limited the discretion USA attorneys could exercise in their prosecution of pot, especially in states where it is legal for medical or recreational use.
Going forward, federal prosecutors around the country will have deference to enforce USA laws on marijuana as they see fit in their own districts, added the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
What we do know is that marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 narcotic according to federal law, just like heroin and fentanyl, even though no one has ever overdosed and died from marijuana. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment prevents the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana businesses and patients that operate in compliance with state law. That approach is consistent with Sessions' guidance, he said.
"We've already had conversations with our attorney general, as well as our acting USA attorney, who clearly have said they're not going to change anything with regards to the industry here in Colorado", Hanckock said.
Colorado's Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman, said she was reassured by Troyer's statement and told reporters that Colorado residents should not "freak out".
California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and the industry has thrived, despite the threat of federal prosecution. "We're going to have to learn more how to handle those situations", said Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp.
He also points out that states that have legalized cannabis have benefited through increased tax revenue from sales.
Sessions' move infuriated Colorado elected officials of both parties.
On Thursday, its House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would allow people over the age of 21 to legally possess and grow small amounts of marijuana beginning in July.
Meanwhile, state officials acted swiftly this week to identify legal or other actions California can take to block anti-marijuana policies advanced by the Trump administration. "Give me a break", he said.
In a Gallup poll from October, a record 64 percent of respondents backed the legalization of marijuana, including a majority of Republicans for the first time.
They stopped short of promising legal protections for individuals who may be targeted, saying they were still assessing the uncertainties of the situation. And groups focused on the state's fledgling industry were quick to respond to the attorney general's move.
"This is about the federal government interfering with the rights of those states to make their own decisions", he told reporters on Friday afternoon at an unrelated press conference at the NYPD headquarters.
"We will continue as a state to exert our right as a sovereign state to control what happens in our borders with regard to marijuana regulation and enforcement", she said. Certainty brings better players into the market, more legitimate capital.
"People want to be legal in their use of cannabis", Wildrick explained.
"What that means for local law enforcement is nothing different than what we're doing", said Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers, who oversees the Quad Cities Drug Task Force.
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