Locals wait for clarity on federal marijuana policy

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington in December

"In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department's finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well established principles that govern all federal prosecutors", Sessions said.

Grant Osborn replaces a jar of marijuana to the display case at Sweet Relief in Astoria. Now, it's a matter of building support across state lines - and with 29 states having some form of legal cannabis, he thinks a majority vote would be there.

Sweet Relief in Astoria is one of several businesses on the North Coast that sell medicinal and recreational marijuana.

When he rescinded the Justice Department's previous guidance on marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions left the issue to a mix of prosecutors who were appointed by President Donald Trump's administration and others who are holdovers from the Barack Obama years.

The policy change, detailed by Sessions in a one-page memo to federal prosecutors nationwide, came three days after California formally launched the world's largest regulated commercial market for recreational marijuana. Their home state might have legalized the drug (and indeed, 29 U.S. states have passed medical marijuana laws so far, with 8 states, plus the District of Columbia, legalizing recreational use as well), but federal prosecutors and marshals are still well within their rights to arrest anyone found using or selling the drug.

Q: Will this affect medical marijuana?

But the emerging pot industry is rooted in shaky legal ground, complicating regulatory, financial and advertising issues.

The latest numbers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show 44 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. "I feel that this is just part of this industry, and I feel hopeful that logic will prevail". Also, rather than give U.S. Attorneys any specific direction, the memo returns trust and local control to federal prosecutors, and clarifies that they know how to deploy their resources to make their Districts safer.

However, it's not clear that the announcement will lead to drastic changes in the way that federal officials in OR handle pot. As long as Congress doesn't revise the law in accordance with the wishes of voters in at least 29 USA states, the Attorney General office is tasked precisely with applying it as is.

"We will continue working with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to pursue shared public safety objectives, with an emphasis on stemming the overproduction of marijuana and the diversion of marijuana out of state, dismantling criminal organizations and thwarting violent crime in our communities", he said. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner stated shock at the decision, as it would apparently contradict private assurances received from Mr. Sessions before his appointment.

The move by Sessions has generated outrage among advocates for legal marijuana as well as some conservatives who believe the federal government shouldn't overrule the wishes of state government on issues like this. The analysis concluded that supply vastly outstrips demand, and that OR supplies much of the black market marijuana around the U.S.

"The cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana has always been and remains a violation of federal law for all purposes", she later said in a statement.

"I think Brown and OR won't be able to be so casual with this", he said.

Q: Can congress reverse Sessions' action - and would lawmakers be inclined to do so?

OR collected more than $108 million in taxes from marijuana sales between January 2016 and August.

According to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the state of Oregon received over $60 million in state taxes from the recreational marijuana industry.

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Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Sessions' announcement was "disruptive to state regulatory regimes." Sen.

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