The Latest: Colorado prosecutor won’t change approach to pot


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end a federal policy affecting states that have legalized marijuana. (all times local):

2 p.m.

Colorado’s U.S. attorney says his office won’t change its approach to prosecuting marijuana crimes. That’s after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a new policy giving federal prosecutors more leeway to enforce federal laws against pot.

Bob Troyer’s office released a statement Thursday after Sessions rescinded the Obama-era policy that had helped legalized marijuana to flourish in Colorado and other states.

Sessions says prosecutors can decide how aggressively to pursue marijuana cases.

Troyer says his office has always focused on prosecuting marijuana crimes that “create the greatest safety threats” and will continue to be guided by that goal. He says that’s consistent with Sessions’ latest guidance.

Troyer took office in August 2016 after former President Barack Obama’s appointee stepped down. President Donald Trump hasn’t nominated a replacement.


12:32 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy that allowed legal marijuana to flourish in states across the country.

In a memo Thursday, Sessions says federal prosecutors should decide on their own whether to devote resources to marijuana cases based on other demands in their districts. Sessions writes in the one-page memo that “prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions” by considering the seriousness of the crime and its impact on the community.

It is not immediately clear how the decision will impact sales of the drug, which are legal on the state level in eight states and Washington, D.C.

But, as Sessions notes in the memo, marijuana remains federally illegal. Justice Department officials say they could take further action against states that have legalized pot but stopped short of offering specifics.


10:39 a.m.

A Republican senator from Colorado is reacting angrily to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plans to change the federal policy affecting states that have legalized marijuana.

Cory Gardner says in a tweet that the Justice Department “has trampled on the will of the voters” in Colorado and other states.

The AP reported Thursday that Sessions will rescind an Obama-era policy that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering marijuana sales in states where pot is legal.

Gardner said this would contradict what Sessions had told him before the attorney general was confirmed.

He said he was prepared “to take all steps necessary,” including holding up the confirmation of Justice Department nominees, “until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.”


8:40 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going after legalized marijuana. Sessions is rescinding a policy that had let legalized marijuana flourish without federal intervention across the country.

That’s according to two people with direct knowledge of the decision. They were not allowed to publicly discuss it before an announcement expected Thursday and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move will leave it to U.S. attorneys where pot is legal to decide whether to aggressively enforce federal marijuana law. The move likely will add to confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it’s legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it.

The decision comes days after California began selling recreational marijuana.

Sessions compares marijuana to heroin and blames it for spikes in violence.

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