MPP Issues Statement 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

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — 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.”

Marijuana Advocates Tell Senators #JustSayNoToSessions

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Yesterday, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and its supporters organized a “Day of Action” to mobilize opposition to the appointment of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General.

“Senator Sessions’ views are out of step with mainstream America and they are in conflict with laws throughout a majority of states,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “We must demand that Senators on the Judiciary Committee ask this nominee whether he intends to respect the will of the voters in these states and whether he truly believes that no ‘good people’ have ever smoked pot. If he truly believes such outdated Reefer Madness rhetoric, then he should not be the next Attorney General.”

Participants from over the country flooded their Senators phone lines to demand that if Senator Sessions refuses to agree to respect state marijuana laws, members of the Senate should refuse to confirm him as Attorney General. The effort was promoted online with the hashtag #JustSayNoToSessions.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Sen. Sessions will possess the power to roll back decades of hard-fought gains. He will have the authority to challenge the medical marijuana programs that now operate in 29 states and the adult use legalization laws that have been approved in eight states.

MPP Statement Regarding the Nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Marijuana Policy Project released the following statement Friday in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general.

Statement from MPP Director of Communications Mason Tvert:

“President-elect Trump has said on multiple occasions that he respects states’ right to establish their own marijuana policies. We would expect appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president to stick to the president’s position on this subject. It would certainly be controversial if Sen. Sessions completely defied the president who appointed him.

“The vast majority of Americans agree with President-elect Trump’s position that marijuana policy should largely be left to the states. A huge majority of voters share Trumps support for legal access to medical marijuana, and a steadily growing majority believes marijuana should be legal for adults. We remain hopeful that the incoming administration will refrain from interfering in state laws that were adopted by voters or their elected representatives in order to control marijuana and improve the health and safety of their communities. 

“There is a large and growing sentiment in Congress and among the American public that our federal government should not be wasting tax dollars enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws. We hope Sen. Sessions or whoever is confirmed as our next attorney general will use federal law enforcement resources to protect our country’s citizens, not to defy the laws those citizens have adopted.”