Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, has long viewed pot as a public menace and a source of street crime.

It's no secret why drug users come to George Patterson in a mall parking lot just outside Phoenix to get their clean needles, syringes and other supplies on Tuesday afternoons, instead of heading to the pharmacy down the street.

"It's really low-barrier the way we are doing it," Patterson says. "All you have to do is find us."

frankieleon / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/armydre2008

Greenfield, Massachusetts, has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers in U.S. District Court, arguing they intentionally understated the addictive nature of opioids. 

Russia's Olympic Committee is backing a plan for Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag in the upcoming Winter Olympics, saying it will support their participation. Despite doping sanctions against the national team, the Russian group's head says 200 of the country's athletes could wind up going to PyeongChang.

The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee "with immediate effect," essentially banning the country from the upcoming Winter Olympics over Russia's system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes can compete in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the IOC said Tuesday — but the athletes will have to pass strict scrutiny, and instead of wearing their nation's uniform, they will compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

Sonja Farak, left, stands during her arraignment at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, Mass., Tuesday Jan. 22, 2013.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Western Massachusetts prosecutors will dismiss more than 5,000 drug convictions tied to former drug chemist Sonja Farak. 

As attitudes toward pain management change, some researchers say there's better evidence supporting cannabis use for chronic neuropathic pain management than opioids. Yet, for this Vermonter, an opioid prescription costs a dollar, while medical marijuana costs hundreds.

One day after announcing that fewer Massachusetts residents have died from opioid overdoses this year than last, Gov. Charlie Baker delivered a slate of proposals to combat the epidemic, including reforms for prescribing and treatment, at a press conference Tuesday.

Marijuana plants.
Brett Levin flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22 / Creative Commons

Marijuana regulators in Massachusetts are trying to find a balance between getting pot stores open by next summer, and making sure all residents have a chance to get involved in the industry.

Prosecutors have filed new charges against members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State, alleging that newly recovered video shows them serving pledge Timothy Piazza excessive quantities of alcohol. The charges filed Monday — which range from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated assault and hazing — rely on surveillance footage taken during the pledge event connected with the 19-year-old's death.