"I also urge the DOJ to work with the congressional delegations from states like Nevada that have legalized marijuana as they review and navigate the new policy". Ellen and Stu Smith are champions for the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain-and they believed something like this could happen.
That reversed the election campaign stance by President Donald Trump favoring state marijuana laws, and set up a potential clash with the six U.S. states that have already moved ahead to legalize pot sales.
According to NORML,-a group that promotes legalization of marijuana-medical marijuana protections are still in effect, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.
It's not clear what impact the change will have or whether federal prosecutions of marijuana cultivation or sales will increase, but the change makes prosecution easier.
But, in his one-page memo, Sessions said that federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana.
It's worth noting that the Rohrbacher-Bluemenauer amendment must be approved each year, so it will come up for a vote again this year.
Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney who co-wrote Colorado's 2012 constitutional amendment legalizing recreation marijuana, said the industry will closely examine the background of any new US attorney nominees.
"By not having that (banking) access they tend to be an all-cash business and that's subject to more criminality, and it makes it more hard to collect taxes because without a banking relationship you don't have an audit trail", Coffman said.
Alex Levine, one of the owners of Green Dragon Cannabis Co., said that like much of marijuana industry, his company has kept a close eye on Sessions and what he may have planned for legal pot.
Some advocates and political leaders are warning the new Department of Justice guidance on marijuana prosecutions could have dire consequences for chronically ill patients for whom marijuana products provide a measure of relief.
So either Trump lied about protecting marijuana laws and actually wants to crackdown or he just doesn't care about the issue and is just letting Sessions do whatever he wants.
In short, Sessions is giving federal prosecutors around the country more discretion about enforcing federal law in marijuana cases, even in the states where it is legal.
Coos County Sherriff Craig Zanni said, "This is now a federal issue related to a change of federal prosecutor's directives".
The new US attorney in Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the Senate in mid-December, called marijuana "a unsafe drug" in his statement on Sessions' action.
The association suffered a separate setback December 28 when a state Supreme Court judge dismissed its lawsuit that meant to block the state Health Department from doubling the number of companies permitted to grow and distribute medical marijuana in NY.
Marijuana has never been legal under federal law, and it still isn't.
"At the California Department of Justice we intend to vigorously enforce our state's laws and protect our state's interests".
"Given the Department's well-established general principles, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately", Sessions said.