As Soon As President Donald Trump Named Sessions As His Pick For Attorney General, The Alabama Republican’s Long-held Anti-pot Views Triggered Speculation That The Federal Government Would Crack Down In States Where It Was Legal.

It directed all U.S. attorneys to treat marijuana businesses operating “in clear and unambiguous compliance” with state marijuana laws as a low enforcement priority. While still somewhat ambiguous and falling short of support for full federal legalization, Cole’s guidance made cannabis businesses in states that had legalized the product feel less vulnerable. Rather than fight for more protection against federal raids, marijuana entrepreneurs and social activists at that point instead generally chose to focus on compliance within state laws and continuing to increase public support. The strategy seemed to pay off with additional states legalizing pot for medical and recreational purposes. While full legalization remained an appealing long-term goal for many Americans, the status quo during Obama’s second term seemed quite workable for states with legal markets. And it took away the impetus to push for more rapid federal change. As soon as President Donald Trump named Sessions as his pick for attorney general, the Alabama Republican’s long-held anti-pot views triggered speculation that the federal government would crack down in states where it was legal. Instead, Sessions waited almost a full year to make a move. Meanwhile, legal cannabis businesses continued to generate tax revenue and create jobs.

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