[Ilya Somin] Jeff Sessions Escalates the Federal War on Marijuana – and his Assault on Federalism

Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he will rescind an Obama-era Justice Department policy limiting federal prosecution of marijuana users and distributers in states that have legalized cannabis. For reasons well-summarized by co-blogger Jonathan Adler, this is a bad decision on both policy and legal grounds. In the short run, the impact may be relatively minor. The Obama policy offered far from complete protection to cannabis businesses. To the contrary, as I explained back when the policy was first instituted in 2013, it included numerous exceptions that in practice allowed federal prosecutors to go after almost any marijuana producer they had a strong desire to target. Because federal law enforcement resources are limited and the federal government often relies heavily on state and local cooperation in drug cases, it is unlikely that the Justice Department will be able to target more than a small fraction of the new legal cannabis industry.…

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