On Thursday the Trump administration lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on marijuana markets in states where the drug is legal. It is now up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ action came just three days after a legalization law went into effect in California. The lift of the policy now threatened the future of the young industry and created confusion in states, like Oregon, where the drug is legal.
Oregon governor Kate Brown said Thursday the state will fight Sessions’ move to lift the policy on federal enforcement of the drug in order to protect the state’s economic interests. Brown said marijuana is an important component of the state’s economy and has creating more than 19,000 jobs.
Oregon was the first state to decriminalize personal possession of marijuana in 1973. Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and recreational use in 2014.
It is not clear how the change might affect states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes. A congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed. Justice officials said they would follow the law, but would not preclude the possibility of medical-marijuana related prosecutions.
Officials wouldn’t say whether federal prosecutors would target marijuana shops and legal growers, nor would they speculate on whether pot prosecutions would increase.
Courtesy of the Associated Press