Jeff Sessions to end policy that let legal pot flourish - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Jeff Sessions to end policy that let legal pot flourish

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Just four days after a newly implemented law made recreational marijuana legal in San Diego and the rest of California, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to make an announcement Thursday that could put marijuana growers, sellers and users back on the wrong side of the law, it was reported.

Sessions will make an announcement rescinding a policy implemented under President Barack Obama that allowed states to legalize the drug even though it is still prohibited by federal law, according to reports ffrom Washington, D.C. Sessions would instead allow federal prosecutors in California and other states where marijuana is legal to decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana laws.

The Obama-era policy, implemented in 2013, paved the way for states to legalize recreational marijuana. Federal authorities in states where the drug was legalized were told not to impede state statutes and urged only to keep it from migrating to places where it remained outlawed, and keep it out of the hands of criminal gangs and children.

But Sessions will direct U.S. attorneys in states where the drug has been legalized to decide what kind of federal resources to devote to marijuana enforcement.

The policy change could have massive implications in San Diego and the rest of the state, where the marijuana business is expected to grow into a billion-dollar industry. Under the new policy, pot shops licensed and approved by state officials could be shut down by federal officials. Growers, sellers and users complying with state statutes could face charges and punishment in federal court.

If Sessions does leave enforcement decisions in the hands of individual U.S. attorneys, some areas could see no change while other areas could see major crackdowns.

In November, Veteran federal prosecutor Adam Braverman was sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California -- which covers San Diego and Imperial counties -- following his interim appointment by Sessions.

A news release from Braverman's office praised him for spending "a significant part of his government career pursuing large-scale international drug trafficking cartels" and for leading the investigation and prosecution of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

Braverman's views on legalized recreational marijuana and how he might handle the mandate from Sessions was not immediately clear.

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