>> It's legal in more than half of the United States, but still illegal under Federal law. And now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is giving the green light for a possible crackdown on marijuana. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where Sessions is telling Federal prosecutors that they can go after pot buyers and sellers if they want.
That's a big shift from the Obama administration, which took a hands off approach. It's not clear at this point, whether Sessions is trying to kick off a new war on drugs, but it's surely the more uncertainty for the growing business of ganja. Marijuana is legal for medical use in 29 states in the district of Columbia, and voters in the nation's capital in eight states have also approved recreational use.
The industry's rapid growth coming, despite Federal laws that largely freeze it out of the banking system. California became the latest state to start recreational sales on January 1st. The industry could soon generate more than $1 billion a year there in tax revenue. But that's not stopping Sessions, the former Federal Prosecutor himself, who has compared the drug to heroin.
He's telling his prosecutors that they can go after the industry if they want. Sessions has also revived tough minimum sentencing and other drug war tactics that had gone by the wayside, under President Obama. This, even though Trump told a Colorado TV station during the 2016 campaign, that it should be an issue for the States.
Ten years ago, nobody would be batting an eyelash at this announcement. The Attorney General's law and order stance will be firmly within the mainstream. But in 2018, polls show that most Americans think that marijuana should be legal, and Sessions is even getting push back from Republican law makers, like Colorado Senator, Corey Gardner.
>> Because I believe what happened today was a trampling of Colorado's rights, and that's why I will be putting today a hold on every single nomination from the Department of Justice.>> On top of that, Congress and the courts have made it harder for the Feds to go after medical marijuana users.
So it's not clear whether prosecutors will even want to make pot a priority. At this point, it may be simply too late to kill the growing buzz over marijuana.