Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse Obama-era rules on marijuana

The attorney general puts states with legal marijuana in limbo

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he will be rescinding Obama-era rules about marijuana.

The rules set forward a policy of non-interference with states that legalized marijuana, even though the drug is still illegal under federal law.

The ‘Cole memo’

The main memo that set forward those rules, the “Cole memo,” as named for then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole in 2013, shifted the drug policy away from strict enforcement.

Under the new guidelines, states that had legalized marijuana would be allowed to follow their legalization rules, as long as federal laws weren’t infringed upon. That means distribution to minors and the prosecution of drug cartels would still bring down federal charges.

However, Session will rescind those rules, sending states where marijuana is legalized into uncertainty.

This decision comes just days after California legalized recreational marijuana, making California one of eight states allowing recreational use. A majority of states also allow marijuana for medical uses.

Now, those states are legally unsettled when it comes to marijuana policy. It’s not clear if Sessions intends to replace the guidelines or simply rescind the previous laws and allow uncertainty to reign.