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Justice officials said they would follow the law, but would not preclude the possibility of medical-marijuana related prosecutions.Sessions and some law enforcement officials in states such as Colorado blame legalization for a number of problems, including drug traffickers who have taken advantage of lax marijuana laws to illegally grow and ship the drug across state lines, where it can sell for much more.California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, vowed to 'vigorously enforce our state's laws and protect our state's interests.''In California, we decided it was best to regulate, not criminalize, cannabis,' he said. After all, this is 2018 not the 20th century.'Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said her office was evaluating the potential impact of the change, while pledging to 'uphold and implement state law.'In Nevada, Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt affirmed his promise to protect the law, despite having opposed the ballot initiative that voters approved.
Marijuana advocates quickly condemned Sessions' move as a return to outdated drug-war policies that unduly affected minorities.
While Sessions has been carrying out a Justice Department agenda that follows Trump's top priorities on such issues as immigration and opioids, the changes to marijuana policy reflect his own concerns.
Trump's personal views on marijuana remain largely unknown.
Nor is it clear how the memo might affect states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes.
A congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed.