During remarks to the Federalist Society in Washington D.C., Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted that the federal government does not have the resources to investigate and prosecute “routine” cannabis cases and would instead focus on gangs and other high-level illicit dealers, according to a CBS News report. Sessions added that the federal prosecutors “haven’t been working small marijuana cases before and … are not going to be working them now.”
The comments come about three months after Sessions rescinded the Obama-era Cole memo which protected state-approved cannabis businesses from federal interference. Sessions seemed to explain his decision to cancel that directive during his speech, saying that he is “not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that marijuana is legal under United States law.”
Sessions explained that some of the issues the federal government is worried about in legal state – such as diversion and illegal cannabis growing operations – would be handled at the discretion of the individual states’ U.S. attorneys.
President Donald Trump has, on at least two occasions, indicated that he would support the death penalty for drug dealers; although, those comments have typically come in speeches focused on the opioid epidemic rather than cannabis policy.