Understandably, Jeff Sessions appointment confirmation as United States Attorney General has the cannabis community, and everyone that wants the federal government to respect state marijuana laws (71% of American adults in a recent poll), worried. After Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that he expected ”greater enforcement” in states that have legalized marijuana, cannabis legalization supporters went on high alert (pun intended). Attorney General Sessions’ Reefer Madness-inspired comments to the National Association of Attorneys General, while not reflecting any policy change, weren’t exactly reassuring either. However, in private meetings with Republican Senators Rand Paul and Cory Gardner, Sessions apparently reassured the GOP Senators that he isn’t planning a major crackdown on marijuana.
Sessions has rattled both libertarians and liberals in ordering a review of the hands-off pot policy under President Barack Obama. But Sessions provided some private assurances to senators before he was confirmed that he was not considering a major shift in enforcement, despite his opposition to the use of marijuana.
“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things. And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not the [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). in an interview.
And since he was confirmed, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said administration officials have left him with the impression there is no big policy change coming.
With the political firestorm created by Jeff Sessions’ false statements that he never met with any Russian officials during his confirmation hearing, it seems very unlikely that he’ll have much time to devote to marijuana policy, likely good news to the cannabis community. It is nice to get some good news about Sessions’ Justice Department marijuana policy, but we must remain vigilant. It is great that we have elected officials in the Senate, House and state governments across the nation standing up for the will of the voters, but we need to help them help us and continue to make our voices heard.