Sessions Vague on Cannabis Questions During First Day of Confirmation Hearings
CATEGORIES: Cannabis PoliticsMarijuana Culture

U.S. Attorney General nominee Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions was evasive when asked about how he would approach legalized cannabis during the first round of his confirmation hearings yesterday, testifying that handling those cases “won’t be an easy decision.”

When pressed by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont about whether he would “investigate and prosecute sick people” using cannabis legally, Sessions said he “won’t commit to never enforcing federal law.”

“The Department of Justice under [Attorney General Loretta] Lynch and [former Attorney General David] Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion, parts of marijuana,” he said, indicating he would try to execute the duties of the office in a “fair and just way.”

During a follow-up question from Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah about state’s rights, Session’s said that if cannabis prohibition was “not desired any longer” at the federal level Congress “should pass a law and change the rule.”

“It’s not so much the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce,” Sessions said. “We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”

Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, expressed hope that Sessions’ belief that the Justice Department’s current cannabis policy enforcement guidelines are “truly valuable…should lead [Sessions] to maintain the current federal policy.”

Marijuana Policy Project Director of Federal Policies also expressed optimism because Sessions was non-committal to enforcing federal cannabis laws.

“He was given the opportunity to take an extreme prohibitionist approach, and he passed on it,” Capecchi said in a Star-Telegram report.

However Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that Sessions’ responses to the cannabis questions were unclear in terms of whether he would take any action.

“If anything, his comments are a cause for concern and can be interpreted as leaving the door open for enforcing federal law in legalized states,” he said.

Sessions’ confirmation hearings continue today.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

TG Branfalt Portrait

TG is a journalist by trade and has been covering cannabis industry news for since 2014. He is also the host of the Podcast, and currently lives in Detroit, Michigan.


HARD CAR Security

HARD CAR Security

Criminals target cash and high value assets during arrivals, departure and in transit. It is not safe to endanger your in-house employees or other untrained persons to protect your valuable assets. HARD CAR eliminates the risks by deploying professionally trained security agents, discreet armored vehicles, proven real time GPS tracking and video in transit to protect your valuable assets. Learn More

Marijuana Business Association

Marijuana Business Association

Join the MJBA today as a Volunteer Advocate, Individual Supporter, Business Member or Corporate Sponsor and help us end prohibition, educate consumers, legitimize the industry, and expand the market. Learn More

Seed to Sale Software

Seed to Sale Software offers a comprehensive software solution for dispensary owners and cannabis industry businesses. We provide an automated solution for employee tracking, inventory tracking, client management, point of sale, cash tracking, seed to sale reporting, financial accounting, grow space management, and other essential business tools. Sign up today and get a free integrated profile at! Learn More

Recommended Reading

Recent Cannabis Industry News

More Cannabis Industry News Subscribe To Our Newsletter


Join the conversation. Leave a comment below: