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.(Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP, file)
Lansing — Michigan is continuing to more tightly regulate the medical marijuana industry even as the U.S. Justice Department ended Thursday its lenient stance toward states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a one-page memo rescinding a 2013 Obama-era directive putting marijuana enforcement on the backburner in states that have allowed it either recreationally or medically. Michigan voters in a 2008 referendum voted to legalize pot for medical use, and the state is now beginning to accept applications for a myriad of businesses looking to break into the pot industry.
In his memo, Sessions said he was reasserting federal laws that “reflect Congress’s determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.”
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs spokesman David Harns, said the department will continue accepting and granting applications as planned after the state Legislature prompted the department to unveil new regulations following years of uncertainty about what was actually legal.
A Michigan Supreme Court ruling in 2013 found that medical marijuana dispensaries were illegal. A new state law is allowing state-licensed dispensaries and other medical pot-related businesses into communities that want them.
The federal development was met with mixed reaction by local law enforcement and adds more anxiety and uncertainty for marijuana industry officials in Michigan.
“It may have a chilling affect on the enthusiasm of some people in the business sector, but I think the business opportunities continue to expand and that the market is inevitable,”