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West Virginia’s Capito, other lawmakers, oppose Sessions’ move on marijuana


Charleston Gazette-Mail

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, talks with the media during the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Lookahead Friday, Jan. 5, in Charleston. (West Virginia Press Association photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says “we need to respect states’ rights here,” when it comes to marijuana, putting her at odds with the U.S. attorney general.

“I’m going to go on the record as saying I’m against recreational marijuana, but I respect the states’ rights to make that decision,” said Capito, R-W.Va.

The senator was responding to news last week that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had reversed 2013 guidance on marijuana prosecutions from the Obama administration.
The guidance, written in a memo to U.S. attorneys by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole, had said that, when U.S. attorneys decide how to spend their resources on marijuana crimes, they should focus on certain high-priority areas, such as the sale of marijuana to children — not on prosecuting people who were complying with their own state’s laws.

Matt Simon, of the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group, said it’s now up to U.S. attorneys to decide how to use their limited resources to enforce federal law.

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