Members of Illinois’ medical marijuana industry say they’re disappointed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to allow more aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws — but business operators maintain existing laws will protect them.
And one of the sponsors of a proposal to legalize recreational pot in Illinois says the federal shift won’t derail the bill’s chances.
“They’re trying to put the genie back in the bottle, and it’s going to be a challenge for them to accomplish,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat.
Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy known as the Cole memo that discouraged prosecution of those operating under state pot laws, even though the drug remains illegal at the federal level.
It’s unclear whether Thursday’s move will actually result in more criminal cases, but the change may have more immediate effect in the eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana, observers said.
Medical marijuana has an additional protection that recreational marijuana does not: a piece of federal legislation known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which prohibits the Justice Department from spending federal funds to prevent