Sen. Sessions hazy on marijuana enforcement
During his confirmation hearing, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, did not draw a clear picture of how he would approach federal marijuana laws.
During these confirmation hearings the Colorado marijuana industry is tuning in to gauge what the next four years might hold for the state’s experiment in legal pot.
“Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state laws, even though it might violate federal law?” asked Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who pointed out that Sessions’ own state allows use of CBD oils, even though it’s against federal law.
“I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law,” Sessions replied.
“But absolutely, it’s a problem of resources for the federal government. The Department of Justice under (Attorney General Loretta) Lynch and (former Attorney General Eric) 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, some parts of marijuana.”
Sessions said some of these policies are “truly valuable in evaluating cases.”
“But fundamentally the criticism that I think was legitimate is that they may not have been followed,” he added.
“Using good judgment about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine,” he said. “I know it won’t be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”
Sessions later added that if the federal ban on marijuana is no longer desired then Congress should pass legislation to that effect.
“It’s not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”
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