The impairment argument is incredibly complex. Many employers use the term in workplace drug and alcohol policies but this may not be the most prudent choice as marijuana impairment cannot necessarily be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

DOJ Aims to Enforce Marijuana Laws

This reverses an Obama administration policy easing federal enforcement in the many states that have legalized either medical or recreational marijuana, but how this new policy will be carried out in the states was not immediately made clear.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the U.S. Justice Department plan to enforce laws against marijuana -- its use, cultivation, possession, and distribution, according to a memo on marijuana enforcement issued Jan. 4. This reverses an Obama administration policy easing federal enforcement in the many states that have legalized either medical or recreational marijuana, but how this new policy will be carried out in the states was not immediately made clear.

Recreational marijuana became legal on Jan. 1 in California, the most populous U.S. state, for example.

DOJ announced that Sessions' memo directs all U.S. attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. "This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs," DOJ stated.

"It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission," Sessions said. "Therefore, today's memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country."

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