During his confirmation hearing for Attorney General of the United States, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions made it clear that if confirmed, he may very well go after states that have legalized cannabis, including medical cannabis.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked Sessions during the hearing; “Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people using marijuana in accordance with state law; even though it might violate federal law?”
Sessions responded by saying; “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy; but absolutely it is a problem of resources for the federal government. The Department of Justice under Lynch and Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion marijuana, some parts of marijuana.”
Senator Leahy followed up by asking; “Do you agree with those guidelines?”
Sessions stated that; “I think some of them are truly valuable in evaluating cases; but fundamentally the criticism I think that is legitimate is that they may not have been followed. Using good judgment on how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine I know it wont be an easy decision but i will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) then asked Sessions about the the potential conflict of law created by the Obama Administration’s hands-off approach when it comes to state-level cannabis legalization.
Sessions replied saying that; “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession 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.”
Sessions has a history of being staunchly opposed to legalizing cannabis; he once said that the Ku Klux Klan was, “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana”. Earlier this year he spoke out against cannabis legalization in a Senate hearing; he urged the government to send the message to the public that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”