The Sessions Assault on Medical Marijuana Continues to Unfold

Other Shoe Has Dropped, but More to Monitor After DOJ’s Reversal of Marijuana Policy

Pursuant to Sessions’ Memorandum, prosecution of any marijuana-related crime is to be weighed using the same factors as any other federal prosecution, to wit: according to the “Principles of Federal Prosecution” found in the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual. As summarized in the Memorandum, “[t]hese principles require federal prosecutors deciding which cases to prosecute to weigh all relevant considerations, including federal law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.” As characterized by the DOJ’s accompanying press release, this is “a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.”

The Memorandum provides some clarity as to the enforcement of marijuana-related crimes, but questions linger. For financial institutions, it remains important to monitor how others – such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN), or even the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Association, or Office of the Comptroller of Currency – may further approach the marijuana issue under the Trump administration.

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv