Sessions’ New Weed Policy
Even Republicans Hate Jeff Sessions’ New Weed Policy
“I think Jeff Sessions has forgotten about the constitution and the tenth amendment,” California Republican Dana Rohrabacher said in a Thursday press call with four other pro-marijuana legalization congresspeople. The call was in response to the announcement that day by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to withdraw the Cole memo, an Obama-era policy that effectively instructed feds to lay off marijuana businesses in states that have legalized the drug except in cases where, for instance, dealers were sending pot across state lines. Under Sessions’s new policy, US attorneys have the discretion to prosecute weed cases.
“Do you know anyone who supports the attorney general’s decision?” a reporter asked during the call. No, replied members of the Cannabis Caucus.
As the bipartisan group of lawmakers emphasized throughout the call, the idea of the Department of Justice going after legal marijuana businesses in the eight states—and the District of Colombia—that have voted to legalize the drug infringes on states’ rights and goes against the will of the people. It can’t be emphasized enough that prosecuting marijuana cases is unpopular. Sixty-four percent of Americans, and 51 percent of Republicans, favor federal legislation.
The reasons are obvious enough. “Marijuana is a lot better than alcohol. I want to stress that because alcohol creates violence, and I’ve seen great people cut somebody’s head off drunk. You don’t see that with marijuana. I’m not condoning it. I’m saying that was the effect upon them, and now they smoke,” Alaska congressman Don Young told me last April.
Studies have shown that it’s safer to consume than alcohol or tobacco, two drugs that are legal to use in the United States. Nevertheless, in Sessions’s reversal of the Cole memo, he asserted, “Marijuana is a dangerous drug and… marijuana activity is a serious crime.” (Sessions once reportedly quipped that he used to think the Klu Klux Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.”)