A wild-eyed team of old school drug warriors has petitioned Congressional leaders in hopes of cleverly persuading them to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s selection for Attorney General of the United States in an effort to renew the War on Drugs.
A letter obtained by Politico, which has been signed by eight former heads of national drug control and enforcement, including former DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, suggests that Congress should support Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General because of the “sober dedication he would bring to the Department of Justice.”
“As former government officials involved in the development and administration of the United States’ drug policies, we understand the importance of a Department of Justice that is committed to the just and fair enforcement of the laws that Congress has written,” the letter reads.
“In this respect, Senator Sessions would make an excellent Attorney General,” the message continues. “His distinguished career as a prosecutor, including as the Reagan-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and as Attorney General of Alabama, earned him a reputation as a tough, determined professional who has been dedicated to the appropriate enforcement of the rule of law. His exemplary record of service in law enforcement demonstrates that he is a protector of civil rights and defender of crime victims.”
When Trump announced the nomination of Jeff Sessions for AG last month, the entire cannabis industry began to panic. Not only is Sessions one of those grey haired old coots who believes strict laws that come with lengthy incarcerations are the best way to deal with drug offenders, but he does not buy into the whole “hands off” approach to legal marijuana states that was put forth by the Obama Administration a couple of years ago.
Although drug policy reform advocates did not think Trump could make a worse choice for AG than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a man who swore to put the nation’s prohibitionary standard back in place, they quickly learned that it could.
“He’s likely to use his power as Attorney General to try to close down state-legal marijuana and medical marijuana programs, and put even more people behind bars under draconian drug sentences,” reads an email from the New York-based non-profit Drug Policy Alliance.
This is exactly what the signors of the letter, which is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley of the Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, likely hope to accomplish.
“[Sessions’] prudent and responsible approach is exactly what the Department of Justice needs to enforce the law, restore confidence in the United States’ justice system, and keep the American people safe. We support the nomination of Senator Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States, and we ask you to do the same,” the letter concludes.
Only time will tell what the Trump Administration will mean for the decades of progress made by the marijuana reform movement. But as Politico pointed out in a recent article, the next Attorney General will, “with little more than the stroke of a pen,” have the power to stop the cultivation and retail sale of marijuana all across the nation – even for medicinal use.