As the industry waits anxiously, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) finally commented on marijuana for the first time since being announced as President-Elect Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general.
Today, Senator Sessions was grilled on an array of issues, ranging from voting rights to legal marijuana. Many have feared that Sessions intends to roll back the lenient enforcement stance taken by the Obama administration.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) asked Sessions if the federal government would sit back as states passed their own marijuana laws. “The United States Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state and the distribution of it an illegal act. If that is something that is not desired any longer then Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It’s not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws as effectively as we’re able,” said Sessions.
Sessions is known to hold anti-marijuana views. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he said last April. Many worried that Sessions would seeking to crack down on marijuana reform as attorney general.
Some advocates of legal marijuana saw Sessions’ comments as a signal that the industry could avoid a worst-case scenario. “It is notable that Sen. Sessions chose not to commit to vigorously enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have reformed their marijuana laws,” Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement on the group’s website. “He also recognized that enforcing federal marijuana laws would be dependent upon the availability of resources, the scarcity of which poses a problem. He was given the opportunity to take an extreme prohibitionist approach and he passed on it.”
Another comment made today by a member of the Trump administration on Fox News may also help to calm the nerves of the marijuana industry. Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer reiterated Trump’s desire to respect states’ rights on marijuana law. He also added that Sessions would be responsible for carrying out Trump’s will. “When you come into a Trump administration, it’s the Trump agenda you’re implementing and not your own,” he said. “I think Senator Sessions is well aware of that.”