Jeff Sessions, who was recently recommended for the position of Attorney General under president elect Trump, could be the worst case scenario for the marijuana industry. The senator from Alabama is one of the most outspoken anti-marijuana advocates in the country and he represents a state with some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. Sessions has spent his whole career speaking out against marijuana and its legalization and, in the position of Attorney General, he may have the power to do something about it.
Jeff Sessions has spoken to the Senate many times about his concerns related to marijuana. He has referred to it as “a very real danger” and has expressed concerns about it being legalized in various states. Similarly to gateway theorist Chris Christy, Sessions has called out President Obama for not doing enough to prevent marijuana from being legalized on the state level.
Sessions believes that Obama should have never let legalization happen and has said, “You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana … you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn’t lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.”.
Sessions has even gone as far as stating, “good people don’t smoke marijuana”. He believes that the American population and many legislators are widely under informed on the dangers of cannabis and that people should be paying much more attention to concerns like drivers who are driving under the influence of cannabis.
Marijuana’s “biggest opponent in the Senate” has even come out with a pro-war on drugs stance. Widely contrasting with Trump’s personal sentiment expressed towards the war on drugs, Sessions has said that the war on drugs has made tremendous positive progress since the 80s. Despite many widespread concerns related to the war on drugs, Sessions believes that this outdated crusade should be maintained or, “lives will be impacted, families will be broken up, children will be damaged.”
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Trump’s personal opinions on marijuana may appear quite harmless and, in the case of medical marijuana, extremely supportive, but Sessions could serve to add to the anti-marijuana cabinet staff that Trump is starting to build. It is quite possible that Trump’s own personal opinions could be changed by Sessions, who could serve to halt the non-interference policy currently in place in states with legalized marijuana programs.
Sessions, if confirmed, could aggressively enforce the current laws in place under the Controlled Substances Act, which would make state marijuana industries completely illegal under federal law. The Cole memos, which currently protect the state run industries, could be quickly revoked if Session is able to gain Trump’s ear on the issue of marijuana. Only time will tell if Session will be confirmed to the position of Attorney General and if he will use his position of power as a platform to fuel his anti-cannabis crusade.