MPP: Jeff Sessions Did NOT Commit to Vigorously Enforcing Prohibition


The nomination of Jeff Sessions as Donald Trump’s attorney general has certainly, for very good reasons, gotten the attention of the cannabis community and industry. Various leading marijuana reform organizations have taken a variety of tactics with the Drug Policy Alliance and NORML vehemently opposing Sessions’ nomination and urging supporters across the nation to contact their United States Senators. The National Cannabis Industry Association and the Marijuana Policy Project are taking more of a middle-of-the-road approach, hanging their hats on the fact that Sessions has had a history of supporting states’ rights and that President-elect Donald Trump has stated his support for allowing states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Senator Sessions was asked about marijuana policy during his confirmation hearing today and legalization supporters could hear both good and bad answers, depending upon one’s perspective. On the troubling side, Sessions did state that he would enforce federal law. On the bright side, Sessions admitted that prosecution depends upon the availability of resources. The Marijuana Policy Project has taken an optimistic view of Sessions’ statements today. While Sessions has a troubling history on cannabis, only time will tell how a Trump Administration will deal with states’ legalization and medical laws. Below is a press release from the Marijuana Policy Project.

Statement From the Marijuana Policy Project Regarding Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions

Sessions did NOT commit to vigorously enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have adopted conflicting laws

Earlier in the day, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer signaled that Sessions would follow Trump’s lead on marijuana policy; Trump has said states should be able to establish their own marijuana laws

WASHINGTON — The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has issued the statement below in response to comments about marijuana policy that were made during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Sessions whether he would use federal resources to enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have adopted laws allowing the use of medical marijuana. Sen. Mike Lee also asked the nominee a question about marijuana policy.

During an appearance earlier in the day on Fox News Channel, President-elect Donald Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer signaled that Sessions would adhere to Trump’s position that states should be able to establish their own marijuana policies. “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.”

Statement from MPP Director of Federal Policies Robert Capecchi:

“It is notable that Sen. Sessions chose not to commit to vigorously enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have reformed their marijuana laws. 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.

“It’s also promising that Donald Trump’s spokesperson said earlier in the day that the next attorney general would follow the president-elect’s lead on the issue. President-elect Trump has made it clear that he supports states’ rights to establish their own marijuana policies. Considering both Sen. Sessions and Mr. Spicer’s comments, we remain cautiously optimistic that the incoming administration will continue the current policy of not interfering with individuals and entities acting in compliance with state marijuana laws.”

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The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization. For more information, visit

Featured photo credit Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0

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