U.S. Senator Rand Paul condemned Sessions' policy.
This isn't to say that there's no risk in investing in cannabis companies, but the risk investors face is likely more centered on the operations of the company being invested in, not from regulation.
And while he didn't mention medical or recreational cannabis directly, in a speech shortly following the release of the memo, Sessions made a statement that has chilling implications for those involved in state-legal cannabis business.
The Harvard Journal on Legislation critiqued the Holder memo as an "expansion of executive", essentially scrutinizing the method used to impose the policy (i.e. without the help of Congress). Many of them are serving mandatory minimum sentences that were created during the course of America's war on drugs.
The big change here is that under the Obama-era policy, prosecutors could, in certain circumstances, omit drug quantities from their court documents, in order to trigger shorter sentences for drug offenders who weren't accused of violent crimes.
The last thing our country needs to do is go back to the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" mentality that has made the United States the number one incarcerator of the world.
Holder, who served under the Obama administration, implemented the "Smart on Crime" drug sentencing policy that focused on not incarcerating people who committed low level non-violent crimes.
Further, we must not overlook the relationship between the Attorney General, this Administration and the private prison industry. We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress.
Mr Sessions said in a news conference that he has in fact "given prosecutors discretion to avoid injustice", but that does not mean they have the ability to ignore mandatory minimums.
Sessions said federal judges and prosecutors will now be un-handcuffed and not micro-managed, as he's directing them to pursue and charge suspects with the most serious offenses they can prove.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder slammed the recently released Justice Department guidelines on sentencing and prosecution, saying the policy is "dumb on crime", according to The Washington Examiner.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said in a statement that Sessions is trying to revive the "war on drugs", which she said "treated drugs, addiction and substance abuse as a crime instead of as a public health issue".
"The policy is not tough on crime". We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, 'Just say no.' There's no excuse for this, it's not recreational.
Do you think all drug offenders should be treated the same?
Brett Tolman, former USA attorney for Utah and a representative of the Law Enforcement Leaders group: "The Justice Department's expected shift to prosecuting and incarcerating more offenders, including low-level and drug offenders, is an ineffective way to protect public safety".
During the Obama administration, Holder's policy had sought to reduce the size of the federal prison system that has always been a financial drag on the Justice Department, representing about 25% of its budget.