Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee this week to answer budgetary questions regarding the Department of Justice. During his appearance, however, Sessions was also asked about cannabis enforcement, state-legal cannabis markets, and the now-defunct Cole Memo — and, to the surprise of many, Sessions appeared to admit that cannabis could have medicinal benefits despite being a Schedule 1 drug on the Controlled Substances Act.
“There may well be some benefits from medical marijuana,” Sessions said during testimony on Wednesday, according to a report by Marijuana Moment‘s Tom Angell.
Sessions also said that cannabis is “perfectly appropriate to study,” but — according to a Washington Times report — the attorney general ducked Senators’ questions about the enforcement of federal cannabis laws in legalized states, telling Congress that the power to undo cannabis prohibition lies in their hands, not his.
“Our priorities are fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine. People are dying by massive amounts as a result of those drugs. We have very few, almost zero, virtually zero small marijuana cases. But if they are a big deal and illegally acting and violating federal law, our agents may work that case.” — Sessions, to members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee
During his testimony, Sessions acknowledged that research has shown a trend of states with medical cannabis programs seeing a reduction in opioid overdose deaths, but said that he doesn’t believe the trend will hold up “in the long run.”
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