It’s been a month since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, Obama-era Department of Justice guidance on enforcement of federal law in states that legalized marijuana in some form.
Sessions’ marijuana policy shift didn’t just inject uncertainty into the legal cannabis industry — it empowered the Justice Department’s U.S. attorneys to enforce — or ignore — federal marijuana laws.
U.S. attorneys are the chief federal law enforcement officers within 93 districts throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. They’re nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
U.S. attorneys have three primary duties, according to the Justice Department’s website.
• the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the Federal Government;
• the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and
• the collection of debts owed the Federal Government which are administratively uncollectible.
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