"It's going to hurt a lot of people if it does slow down, there are just too many people benefiting financially and with their health", said Steve Williams, a marijuana advocate for DFW NORML. "We had no idea it was coming, and like you, we woke up this morning to the news that there was new direction from Attorney General Sessions", she said.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.
It's not clear what impact the change will have or whether federal prosecutions of marijuana cultivation or sales will increase, but the change makes prosecution easier.
"I couldn't immunize people through the policy, but it did give them a level of comfort that was enough for them to say, if I behave, we're basically going to be OK", Cole said.
Mr. Sessions' memo already drew the ire of representatives of states where Marijuana is legal.
In Colorado, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said his office will continue to focus on "identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state".
Seems like we've all just got to ask ourselves.what would Snoop Dogg do?
"One wonders if Trump was consulted - it is Jeff Sessions after all - because this would violate his campaign promise not to interfere with state marijuana laws".
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Patrick McCarthy, spokesman for the NY cannabis association, sidestepped a question on how revocation of the Obama-era memos would affect medical marijuana providers, practitioners and patients.
"There are higher priorities: terrorism and opiates to start with", said Rory Little, a former prosecutor and a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law.
The association suffered a separate setback December 28 when a state Supreme Court judge dismissed its lawsuit that meant to block the state Health Department from doubling the number of companies permitted to grow and distribute medical marijuana in NY.
Colorado is one of eight states, along with the District of Columbia, that have legalized recreational marijuana, which produces revenues that help fight homelessness and fund schools, among others things. Investment in the marijuana industry will probably dip.
The change, he said, removes "clarity and consistency" for an industry that depended on it.
"Given the Department's well-established general principles, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately", Sessions said. Effectively, Sessions has rescinded a 2013 guidance issued by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole that limited prosecutions as along as individuals and businesses were operating under their state's laws. "Without that support, it's hard to see how the industry keeps growing", Sabet said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, long a supporter of medical marijuana, called the Sessions memo "a direct attack on patients".
Former Republican Maryland state delegate Don Murphy, who now works in conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the AG's move, presumably sanctioned by Trump, is odd considering the populist wave in favor of decriminalizing marijuana across the country-not only in blue states, but places like Arkansas, the first Bible Belt state to legalize medical marijuana, and with 53 percent of the vote.