Attorney General Jeff Sessions Rolls Back Memo Protecting States That Have Legalized Marijuana


On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back an Obama-era mandate that largely kept the federal government from interfering with state laws that allow people to use marijuana recreationally and medically.

The Cole memo, now rescinded by Sessions, refocused investigative efforts so that only the “most significant” marijuana-related offenses, like those related to drug cartels or minors, were pursued. The new memo reverses this guidance, and calls for federal prosecutors to enforce federal law for all marijuana-related offenses, even in states where marijuana is legal. U.S. attorneys will decide how much they spend enforcing federal marijuana laws.

“These principles require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community,” Sessions’ memo stated.

Despite state legalization efforts, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act, making it illegal under federal law. How the new memo will affect marijuana growers, businesses and users of both legal and medical marijuana is unclear.

According to a report by the Associated Press, a congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with states’ medical marijuana programs. This, however, would not prevent the possibility of prosecutions related to medical marijuana, justice officials told the AP.

Photos by United States Congress and Zenkyphoto

Related to Chronic Illness

How to Start Yoga as a Spoonie

At the beginning of the new year, so many people feel inspired to start a daily yoga practice. For most people, this means buying a yoga mat and some stretchy pants, and then turning on a yoga DVD or heading to the local studio. Sounds simple enough, right? But for spoonies with chronic symptoms, it’s a [...]
blanket covered with pill bottles and text saying 'happy new year!'

I'm Bringing in the New Year Sick, but That's OK

Some people wish others health and happiness for the New Year. I have had to learn how to achieve happiness without the guarantee of health. If I want to enjoy my life and take advantage of still being here on this beautiful planet full of love, potential and opportunity, I need to be able to see [...]
graphic that says my 5 favorite apps with five icons from the apps

My 5 Favorite Apps That Help You Manage Your Chronic Illness

I’m sure many people in the chronic illness community use various technology or phone apps to help manage their illness. These are five that I’ve found to be useful. Unfortunately most of these apps are paid, but I have really found they help my life every day — so I’m sharing them anyway. Most importantly, [...]
woman wearing red gloves and holding a heart of snow

If the Holidays Have Left You Needing a Rest Day, This Is Your Permission to Take One

Hello, I may not know you, but I wanted to tell you about something I struggle with, and it’s something I feel many of us struggle with at times. Rest days. And not just the typical lazy Saturday morning where you lay on the couch and watch cartoons all day long, though there isn’t anything wrong [...]