Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Saturday that the Justice Department would not pursue “small” marijuana offense cases, even after he reversed a policy that had paved the way for the cannabis industry to proceed uninterrupted in states that legalized it. “I am not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that possession of marijuana is legal under United States law,” Sessions told students at Georgetown University Law Center.
But, he said, federal prosecutors “haven’t been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now.” The decision to reverse that policy was not popular with lawmakers and officials from states that have legalized marijuana. They worried that Sessions’ decision was the first step toward a federal crackdown on the industry.
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and dozens have approved medical cannabis.
Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 federally controlled substance in the same class as heroin and LSD.