AG pick Sessions ‘won’t commit to never enforcing’ US law on MMJ

The murky legal situation between the federal government and states that have approved cannabis in some form was not made any clearer Tuesday when U.S. attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions dodged questions about his planned approach to the issue.

During Day One of his confirmation hearing, Sessions – the Alabama senator who has been picked for AG by President-elect Donald Trump – took a middle-of-the-road approach to states’ cannabis laws and said he “won’t commit to never enforcing federal law” when asked about his approach to medical marijuana statutes.

But he added: “It’s a problem of resources for the federal government.”

Sessions did say that some of the guidelines in the 2013 Cole Memo were “truly valuable,” but he left open a window for possible future enforcement and said those guidelines “may not have been followed.”

Sessions continued: “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession (of marijuana) in every state and distribution an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule – it is not the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

Bob Capecchi, the Marijuana Policy Project’s director of federal policies, said in a news release that Sessions “was given the opportunity to take an extreme prohibitionist approach and he passed on it.”

Capecchi also said it was “promising” that Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, noted during an interview Tuesday that Sessions will be carrying out Trump’s agenda on cannabis instead of making his own policy.

“When you come into a Trump administration, it’s the Trump agenda you’re implementing and not your own,” Spicer told Fox News. “I think Sen. Sessions is well aware of that.”

Capecchi noted that Trump has said cannabis should be a states’ rights issue, meaning it’s possible his administration will leave marijuana policy up to the states and a Sessions-led Department of Justice will remain on the sideline.

MPP remains “cautiously optimistic,” Capecchi said.

Erik Altieri, NORML’s executive director, wrote: “So, after finally being put on the spot and questioned on the issue, we are no closer to clarity in regards to Sessions’ plans for how to treat state marijuana laws than we were yesterday.”

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6 comments on “AG pick Sessions ‘won’t commit to never enforcing’ US law on MMJ
  1. Cactus Bill on

    Sessions comments, while sort of benign, further illustrate the shaky ground that the MJ industry is built on.
    Until we – at least – get MJ off of Schedule 1, and much better to be classified the same as alcoholic beverages, our businesses will continue to be subject to the unpredictable whims of law enforcement and their political handlers.
    Not good for significant investment.

  2. Ma Dang on

    After listening to senator Sessions and other Cabinet elect appointees testify, I believe they will have their hands full with “securing the borders” and the Opioid epidemic to bother with pursuing the Cannabis industry. They have admitted that the criminal justice system is in need of reform and that mandatory sentencing and mass incarceration has become an embarrassment and financial burden to the federal government.
    With the majority of states now having laws that allow for Medical or the Adult use of Cannabis it would seem logical for Congress to submit legislation to reschedule / decriminalize it and allow the states to regulate it as Trump has suggested. This would also open national discussions on interstate commerce, Banking, Hemp production, taxation, medical research and highway safety.
    One of Trump’s promises was to increase employment. This would increase opportunities for employment, resulting in jobs at multiple levels of governmental, ancillary, educational, research and health industries putting millions of Americans back to work, decreasing the black market, reducing drug abuse and allowing science and rational thought to prevail !

    • Kelley Mottola on

      Great comments: You would think if we are a so called Democracy and this is something the people obviously want by the number of states with some sort of legalization, we could at a minimum get it off the schedule 1 drug list. Decisions need to be made whether we have larger issue’s or not. We cannot afford as a country to continue to go back and fourth or continue to completely allow legalization in one state and cross the line in another state to be sent to prison. We are wasting valuable resources and ruining peoples lives, not to mention confusing people on what the laws actually are. The more time we waste making decisions the more money lost and lives ruined. And your right many people could find employment.

  3. bob beck on

    Clarity from a Politician/beuracrap….

    at least int the US you have some way of forcing the issue political..
    he is only embarrassed by mass incarceration because he does own enough shares in the private prison industr

    i live in the US in the 70 and it was wonderfull

    but the US and most of its citizens are now only driven by greed and will do whatever nets them the most dollars in their pocket so figure out how toggle these s assholes some money and they will do your bidding..but you do not hane enough to outbid big pharma and others..

    as for change the law before we stop enforcing it that is complete buulshit as there are many laws on the books that are not it still not illegal to do fellatio in some of the more ignorant states??? is that law enforced??

    hahahah such bullshit these people are …..stop listening to them and validating their lies…

    • James F on

      LOL.. what HE said yesterday, doesn’t count for the next day. New day, New rules.
      Orange man is pissed off by whatever and makes decisions/TWEETs (like a real man!) based off anger.

      Unless he’s already smoking, which is 100% a big NO! Or he wouldn’t be the asshole he is, drunks take care of that.

      keep in touch with that dude you dreaded to call. you may be listening to his sob stories again & his ugly gf.. but the dudes a connnect. don’t anger that dude!

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