Will a move Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice concerning marijuana prosecutions thwart a push to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan?
And could it slow down the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in the state?
“It’s just way too early to have an answer,” said Ric Huff, administrator for the city of Niles, which opted last year to join in Michigan’s new medical marijuana commercial system.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday rescinded a 2013 Obama administration policy that gave states some latitude to legalize marijuana.
The old policy directed federal authorities not to prioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases. Sessions’ new stance is to let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce federal law prohibiting it.
It’s not clear how the move could affect states such as Michigan where marijuana is legal for medical use, or how it could affect the spread of recreational legalization.
Legal medical marijuana dates back more than 20 years and is approved in 29 states. Eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use in recent years, with California’s recreational law taking effect just this week.
Advocates for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan say they remain hopeful voters will approve an initiative that could be on the ballot this coming November.
“It’s important this issue is on the ballot and that people come out and support it and send a very strong message to the attorney general and to the Trump administration this is something that in this case the politicians in Washington are way behind the voters on where they stand on the issue, and they need to get caught up pretty quickly,” Josh Hovey, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate