There is now more reason to believe that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will impose a crack down on recreational marijuana.
Uncle Sam’s leading law enforcement hammer told reporters yesterday at the Department of Justice that state-level marijuana legalization, which he believes has contributed to an increase in “violence,” could be susceptible to more federal enforcement.
Although Sessions stopped short of revealing his master plan with respect to legal marijuana, he did say it’s something, “We're going to look at it...and try to adopt responsible policies."
However, when referencing a meeting with the attorney general of Nebraska, he said there were problems with interstate drug trafficking due to legalization in states like Colorado.
“Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved,” he said.
Sessions, who still thinks legal weed is a bad idea, also voiced concerns about the potency of cannabis being sold in legal states.
“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot,” Sessions said. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago.”
It appears President Trump will do what he said he would throughout his campaign and support states rights, as Sessions said that while he is “not a fan of expanded use of marijuana… states, they can pass the laws they choose.”
But marijuana businesses operating in legal states could still be at risk for prosecution.
“I would just say, it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not,” Sessions said.
Former President Obama’s Administration gave states the freedom to experiment with marijuana legalization as long as they followed the rules outlined in the Cole Memo. Sessions has largely criticized this “hands off approach” to legal weed, but did, howver, admit during his confirmation hearing that the memo does have valuable aspects.
In short, we still do not fully understand what Trump’s Justice Department plans to do with legal weed, but national marijuana advocacy groups were disgusted by the latest comments from AG Sessions and argue that the DOJ is dealing in alternative facts.
"Attorney General Sessions' latest comments are completely fictitious, they describe a reality that only exists in the world of alternative facts,” Erik Altieri, Executive Director at NORML, said in a statement.
“Marijuana legalization has not led to increased violence, but rather has lead to lowered youth use rates, increased tax revenue, and fewer arrests of otherwise law abiding American citizens. The truth is that legalization is working and the views recently espoused by Attorney General Sessions are reckless, irresponsible, and outright false.”