Montana US attorney says focus unchanged on marijuana cases

BILLINGS (AP) — The top federal prosecutor in Montana said Friday there will be “no changes to our approach” on marijuana prosecutions after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the government’s previous guidance on the drug.

U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said prosecutors will focus on cases that pose the greatest public safety threat. That includes those involving violence and drug trafficking organizations, he said.

Montana had more than 22,000 registered medical marijuana cardholders and some 610 marijuana providers at the end of last year, according to state officials. That’s up from fewer than 8,000 cardholders in late 2016.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Montana under a 2004 ballot initiative. Restrictions imposed by lawmakers in 2011 were blocked by the state Supreme Court and later eased.

Montana health department spokesman Jon Ebelt says the agency will follow state law so people with debilitating conditions can access the medicine they need.