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Federal Policy Change Expected to Impact Legal Pot Sales

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ending a federal policy that allowed legal pot to flourish; it affects states that have legalized marijuana, including Oregon.

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 8:42 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 10:12 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going after legalized marijuana. Sessions is rescinding a policy that had let legalized marijuana flourish without federal intervention across the country.

That's according to two people with direct knowledge of the decision. They were not allowed to publicly discuss it before an announcement expected Thursday and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move will leave it to U.S. attorneys where pot is legal to decide whether to aggressively enforce federal marijuana law. The move likely will add to confusion about whether it's OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it's legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it.

The decision comes days after California began selling recreational marijuana.

Sessions compares marijuana to heroin and blames it for spikes in violence.

A Republican senator from Colorado is reacting angrily to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' plans to change the federal policy affecting states that have legalized marijuana.

Cory Gardner says in a tweet that the Justice Department "has trampled on the will of the voters" in Colorado and other states.

The AP reported Thursday that Sessions will rescind an Obama-era policy that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering marijuana sales in states where pot is legal.

Gardner said this would contradict what Sessions had told him before the attorney general was confirmed.

He said he was prepared "to take all steps necessary," including holding up the confirmation of Justice Department nominees, "until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation."

Click here for the memo that outlines the policy set in 2013 that Sessions is excpected to rescind.

Click here for reaction from Governor Kate Brown.

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