You can stop hiding your stash when Jeff Sessions is around… unless you’re sitting on pounds of pot.
The Attorney General announced today that the Justice Department would not prosecute “small” cases involving marijuana despite having renounced the Obama administration policy that allowed the unfettered establishment of cannabis-based businesses in states that legalized the potent medicinal herb.
“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, according to The Associated Press.
However, the Justice Department hasn’t “been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now,” he added.
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Instead, Sessions says that the focus of U.S. prosecutors will remain on illegal cannabis-growing operations on federal parklands and on cartels that peddle marijuana along with harmful drugs.
With cannabis still listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the federal classification system, the same category as heroin and powerful psychedelics, despite the growing number of states that have legalized medicinal use, recreational use, or both, it remains illegal in the federal government’s eyes.
With a 64% majority of Americans supporting the legalization of marijuana, the pressure is growing on Capitol Hill to pass a law reclassifying the status of the plant that the FDA still denies has any legitimate medical use despite numerous studies and consumer testimony that prove its effectiveness in preventing seizures, wasting diseases, PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain and other conditions.
While Sessions’ comments today may make the average pot smoker feel a little safer, there’s no guarantee that cannabis-based businesses around the country can relax just yet. The determination of whether federal prosecutors will target state-licensed marijuana companies will remain at the discretion of individual U.S. Attorneys around the country.