The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is rescinding an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, creating new confusion about enforcement and use just three days after a new legalization law went into effect in California.
Donald Trump’s top law enforcement official was to announce the change on Thursday, people with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press. Instead of the previous policy of lenient federal enforcement, Sessions’ new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it, the people said.
Sessions’ plan drew immediate strong objection from the Republican senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of eight states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Gardner said in a tweet that the justice department “has trampled on the will of the voters” in Colorado and other states. He said the action would contradict what Sessions had told him before the attorney general was confirmed and that he was prepared “to take all steps necessary” to fight the step including holding up the confirmation of justice department nominees.
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