Supporters, Lawmakers React To DOJ Decision Governing Marijuana Regulations

ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed an Obama-era memo to allow states to govern marijuana regulations.

The memo also protected states from federal prosecution under the controlled substance act. Several state leaders and supporters of medical marijuana are reacting to the announcement and asking, what's next?

Arkansas voters took to the polls in 2016 to legalize the use of medical marijuana.

"There needs to be a difference of view between medical marijuana and recreational use of marijuana," Governor Asa Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said he believes Sessions decision to repeal the Obama-era memo is heavily aimed toward states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

"President Trump has recognized medical marijuana as an appropriate exception to federal enforcement policy, but he has not said the same thing about recreational use," he said.

While Hutchinson said he intends to stand behind voters decision to approve medical marijuana, he made it clear he does want Arkansas to become a recreational use state.

"I don't want to see that national trend working its way into Arkansas and the federal enforcement policy is important part of where we go as a country," he said.

Corey Hunt with the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association is in the process of applying to open a dispensary, something he said he isn't giving up on.

"We're moving forward as an industry and as a patient organization we're happy that things are moving forward here in Arkansas and we'll let things in D.C. play out as they will," he said.

The association also plans to move forward with dispensary agent training that is scheduled for Jan. 20 in Fort Smith.