The entire cannabis community is still waiting on bended knee to find out exactly what Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will do with legal marijuana if he is confirmed as the next Attorney General of the United States. So far, the AG nominee has been extremely vague in his answers with respect to if he plans to continue allowing weed to be grown and sold in legal states or if he will call out the dogs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and let them devour the industry and squat it out on the White House lawn.
Earlier this month, Sessions testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he wouldn’t “commit to never enforcing federal law,” but in a roundabout way he agreed that kicking down the doors of legal cannabis businesses could be a waste of federal resources.
On Monday, Sessions provided some additional, yet still rather ambiguous, responses to his position on marijuana legalization.
Hey Jeff, will you honor the Cole Memo?
"While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness and value of the policies contained within that memorandum... I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future."
Ok, but will the Department of Justice start enforcing federal marijuana laws?
"I will not commit to never enforcing Federal law. Whether an arrest and investigation of an individual who may be violating the law is appropriate is a determination made in individual cases based on the sometimes unique circumstances surrounding those cases, as well as the resources available at the time."
That’s cool, but doesn’t the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment (and the recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court) prevent you and your cronies from spending so much as a dollar to attack medical marijuana states?
“A recent federal court ruling that a Congressional rider prevents the Justice Department from going after people complying with state medical marijuana laws "is relatively recent, and I am not familiar with how other courts may have interpreted the relevant appropriations language or the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. As an emerging issue, that is one that will need to be closely evaluated in light of all relevant law and facts... I will conduct such a review. Of course, medical marijuana use is a small part of the growing commercial marijuana industry."
Come on Jeff… you’ve never met a single “good” person who uses marijuana?
“On "good people don't smoke marijuana": "My words have been grossly mischaracterized and taken out of context... I was discussing the value of treating people for using dangerous and illegal drugs like marijuana, and the context in which treatment is successful."
How does your position on marijuana differ from former President Obama’s staff?
"I echo Attorney General Lynch's comments [on marijuana being illegal], and commit, as she did, to enforcing federal law with respect to marijuana, although the exact balance of enforcement priorities is an ever-changing determination based on the circumstances and the resources available at the time."
Would you support downgrading the Schedule I listing of the cannabis plant?
"I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana. Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this."
Still confused about where Senator Sessions stands on legal marijuana in the United States?
Join the club.