Only days after recreational marijuana was legalized in California, the Trump administration decided to attack states’ rights related to legalized marijuana Thursday.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the repeal of a 2013 Obama-era policy that protected legalized marijuana programs in various states from federal intervention, reported NY Daily News.
Completely contradicting what Trump said during his campaign about state rights on marijuana, the policy change would allow for each state’s U.S. attorney to decide whether to aggressively enforce the federal marijuana law.
“It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law,” Sessions said in a statement announcing the change.
Watch the video below of Trump saying states should have the right to choose, as well as his current mouthpiece saying the opposite:
His memo directs prosecutors to ignore state laws, and instead “weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the attorney general, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.”
The memo caused outrage across the country by those who support freedom.
“Jeff Sessions’ order is an attack on the patients and families in New York and around the country who rely on marijuana to ease their pain and suffering,” said Hillary Peckham, chief operating officer of Etain LLC, one of the companies licensed to produce medical marijuana in New York.
Medical marijuana programs and patients are currently protected from federal prosecution by legislation known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. But that amendment expires Jan. 19 and it is unknown if it will be renewed.
“Congress needs to do something,” said NY state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), who sponsored the 2014 law that legalized medical marijuana in New York.
Twenty nine states, including New York, have legalized medical marijuana and eight states, including California, Massachusetts and Colorado, have legalized the recreational use of the plant.
NY State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, vowed to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients.
“These patients need help, and we cannot turn our backs on them,” Zucker said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers who qualify are able to access this therapy.”
Republican and Democrat lawmakers attacked Sessions’ move.
“With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in Colo. and other states,” Republican Sen. Cory Gardner tweeted, adding that he was prepared to “take all steps necessary” to fight the move.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also called on Sessions to reverse his decision, saying “no one who has seriously studied the issue believes that marijuana should be classified as a Schedule 1 drug beside killer drugs like heroin.”