Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era directive that banned federal prosecutors from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance, opening the door for U.S. attorneys to go after legal marijuana users, reports The Washington Post.
Federal law still prohibits the sale and use of marijuana, but a memo written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of pot-related cases.
Eight states and the District of Columbia have since legalized marijuana for recreational use, including California, where legal sales began on Jan. 1 and are projected to bring in $1 billion annually in tax revenue within several years.
Sessions has hinted for months that he would move to crack down on the burgeoning cannabis market.
Massachusetts marijuana regulators said today they still intend to implement the state law legalizing pot.
The Cannabis Control Commission, the five-member panel created last year to oversee the state’s new law, said its role “remains the same.”
“As far as the mandate and the work of the Cannabis Control Commission is concerned, nothing has changed,” the commission’s statement said. “We will continue to move forward with our process to establish and implement sensible regulations for this emerging industry in Massachusetts.”
The commission said it intends to “fulfill the will of the voters” who passed legalized marijuana in a 2016 ballot question.
“Our priority has always been to protect public safety and develop regulations that are compliant with all laws, including those passed by the voters and the legislature legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the Commonwealth,” the commission said today.