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National paper's editorial opinion: Sessions's pot move illogical

How can you come to a conclusion regarding any social experiment without first seeking to understand it through objective analysis?

The Editorial Board of The Washington Post implicitly asks that question in the wake of a government mandate recently issued by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Many of our California readers likely noted the attorney general's dictate last week that eliminated a prior understanding between federal law enforcers and states that have legalized marijuana. California is now one of those.

Prior to Sessions's sudden announcement, an arrangement between the Obama administration and the states ensured the latter that they could run their local marijuana policies free from federal interference. Provided they did so in a responsible manner, national resources would target true drug-related priorities, such as the nation's opioid crisis.

The Post views Sessions's walk back from that pledge as unwise and counterproductive.

For starters, notes the paper, the return of federal prosecutors' discretion to intervene in state matters where they see fit will result in uneven enforcement nationally.

Coupled with that, a "chilling" factor will deter funders of growth operations and manufacturers' willing compliance with state regulations out of fear that federal agents might move in to seize evidence and seek criminal penalties.

And as to the aforementioned opioid epidemic, the Post notes that efforts to tame it will suffer following Sessions's new order to once again devote precious resources to pot, which "simply does not pose the same threat."

Ultimately, too, laments the Post, ramped-up federal intrusion into states' efforts to create viable marijuana policies within their borders will dilute the prospects of learning important things that might eventually be applied on a national level.

Collectively, the Post regards all those takeaways from Sessions's decision as stark negatives .

"Congress should decriminalize marijuana use, then await more information [from states' various initiatives]," states the paper.

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