The marijuana nation pretty much hates Jeff Sessions at this point. Pot people were already predisposed to disliking the Alabama senator after he said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
President-Elect Donald Trump wants Sessions to be his Attorney General, and this week the Senate began confirmation hearings. Asked what he thought of the Justice Department’s enforcement priorities vis-a-vis cannabis, Sessions said he thought they were “truly valuable.”
Marijuana proponents have long been critical of the federal government’s enforcement of drug law in states were pot is legal. The Justice Department, however, has softened its stance in those states. So Sessions’ position isn’t entirely clear. The Drug Policy Alliance called his answers on pot “wishy washy.”
“He made it clear throughout the hearing that he will enforce federal law,” said Bill Piper, senior director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “He could have said he will respect state marijuana law, which is what President-elect Trump said on the campaign trail, but instead he said it is up to Congress to change the law.”
“Sessions has a long history of opposing marijuana reform, and nothing he said at the hearing suggests he has changed his mind,” Piper continued. “Hopefully he will clarify his position in his written response to Senators’ questions.”
Mike Liszewski, Director of Government Affairs for Americans for Safe Access, agreed that it’s not too late for Sessions to be straight with the marijuana nation.
“While it is encouraging the President-Elect Trump’s incoming press secretary has said Sessions will abide by Trump’s position on medical cannabis, Sessions has yet to make such a commitment to respect state medical cannabis laws,” Liszewski said. “With that said, Sessions still has an opportunity to set the record straight and pledge that he will respect medical cannabis patients and the state programs upon which they rely. Similarly, Congress can put the issue to rest by passing legislation to respect state medical laws.”