22:44 GMT19 January 2021
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    On Thursday, US Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions ended rules adopted during the Obama administration that mandated a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly states such as California and Colorado.

    Switching away from the hands-off approach, Sessions' move now gives federal prosecutors across the US free reign with US Justice Department resources to crack the whip on marijuana possession, distribution and cultivation in states where it's been legalized.

    "The previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission," Sessions wrote in a memo. "Today's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all US Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis and thwart violent crime across our country."

    Though Sessions may hope to go back to the time when users were locked away in jail for possessing even the smallest bits of the drug, Lindsay Robinson says the 71-year-old lawyer is simply "out of touch" with Americans.

    Speaking with Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Robinson, the executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, indicated that Sessions' decision to end the previous administration's policy runs completely counter to what the majority of voters believe.

    "The latest move by Sessions is against what most people in the country are feeling now towards legalized [pot], either medical or adult use," Robinson said. "Seventy-two percent [of Americans] say people don't want federal interference in medical or state laws regarding marijuana."

    Morgan Fox, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project, echoed Robinson's claims about Sessions' behavior.

    "Regardless what sort of enforcement we see from individual US attorneys, it's pretty clear that Sessions is out of touch both with his own department, that recommended he maintain the policy that was gotten rid of [Thursday], and the president, who said this issue should be a state issue," Fox told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, before adding, "as well as the majority of the American people who think that marijuana should be legal."

    Coming on the heels of California's decision to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, Becker asked Robinson how the change in policy might translate to the targeting of small-time marijuana users.
    Robinson says only time will tell, but believes that ultimately, this moment "is a great chance for change."

    According to the American Civil Liberties Union, of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests that took place between 2001 and 2010, nearly 90 percent were for simply possessing the drug. The organization also indicated that, to no surprise, African-American citizens are 3.73 times more likely than white citizens to be arrested for possession.

    ​In first place position for the country with the most people sitting in prison cells is none other than the US with 2,193,798, the BBC reported. The Land of the Free's prison rates are the highest in the world, with more than 700 people imprisoned per 100,000 as of 2013. That number can only be expected to increase if law enforcement bodies, at the urging of the Department of Justice, begin to again aggressively pursue minor marijuana users, despite public opinion. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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