Sessions is expected Thursday to announce his intentions to repeal a 2013 Obama-era policy that’s protected legalized marijuana from federal intervention, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.
The policy change would allow for each state’s U.S. attorneys to decide whether to aggressively enforce the federal marijuana law — even if the substance has already been made legal in their state, according to the sources, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
The Obama administration in what’s been dubbed the “Cole Memo,” announced it would not prevent states from legalizing marijuana as long as the substance is kept away from minors and criminals. The memo, authored by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole, also required officials to prevent it from reaching places where it was still illegal.
Marijuana has since been legalized in eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational use, and the weed business has bloomed into a booming multimillion-dollar industry.
The move by President Trump’s attorney general comes just days after California began selling recreational marijuana, which has been legal in Colorado since 2014.
California’s sales revenues alone expected to rake in $1 billion annually in revenue in coming in.
In October a poll found that 64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, with both political parties mostly in favor.
Sessions, a vocal critic of marijuana, has been expected to crack down on federal enforcement. In November he hinted at repealing the memo, telling reporters there would likely be changes to the Obama-era guidelines.
“It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it, and it represents a federal violation, which is law and is subject to be enforced,” he told The Sacramento Bee at the time.
He’s previously blamed the substance for spikes in violence and has compared it to heroin.