US AG Jeff Sessions today announced that the Justice Department has rescinded, effective immediately, Obama administration guidelines – known as the Cole memorandum – which directed US attorneys to not interfere with those compliant with state cannabis laws.
From August 2013 until yesterday, the Department of Justice policy had been not to enforce federal marijuana laws against individuals or businesses in states that are complying with state medical or adult-use marijuana laws, provided that one of eight federal priorities is not implicated. A Department of Justice task force subcommittee on marijuana policy recommended in August that the policy described in the 2013 Cole memo be maintained going forward.
While the AG’s actions were not totally unexpected, they do clash with pledges previously made by President Donald Trump, as well as with comments made by Sessions during his Senate confirmation process. At that time, Sessions acknowledged that the guidelines laid out in the memorandum “appropriate.”