"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 prosecutions", Sessions said in a memo to all federal prosecutors.
The federal perspective, however, has never changed.
In what became colloquially known as the "Cole memo", the department recognized that the drug was still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act but gave federal prosecutors permission to focus their resources elsewhere, so long as the states didn't threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and targeting cartels.
Yet officials suggested to reporters Thursday that businesses and growers in legalized states have gotten too comfortable and that the primacy of state law means very little in Washington. "California voters made a decision to legalize adult use of cannabis in 2016".
Medical marijuana already enjoys legal protection through an amendment attached to congressional spending bills that limits DOJ action against state-sanctioned medical marijuana providers. "The Justice Department should immediately reverse this misguided decision and honor Trump's campaign commitment, and I will keep fighting to make this happen".
It helps dispensaries that there are lawmakers on their side.
"He represents something that is so un-American, as far as I'm concerned", the Texas libertarian said. "And we permit high risk all the time. 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.
OR court rules Christian bakery must pay $135G to lesbian couple
Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries could offer a preview of some of the issues the high court will likely address. In a unusual twist, the Kleins were originally represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.
"I think Brown and OR won't be able to be so casual with this", he said.
Marijuana revenue has been used in many ways throughout the state. We have and will continue to handle violations of the criminal statutes. Altogether, marijuana sales in North America totaled some $6.7 billion in 2016.
"This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen - and one I will do everything in my legal authority to protect", Rosenblum said.
In December, Oregon Sen.
Jeff Sessions has stated that it is up to Congress to change federal law regarding marijuana, and until such a change occurs, it is up to him as Attorney General to enforce federal laws as they are.
"Opening the door to go after legal marijuana businesses ignores the will of the majority of Americans and marks yet another socially unjust and economically backward scheme from this administration", Wyden said.
The Cole memorandum states, "The department's guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat that those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests".