- Sessions has ordered a review of DOJ marijuana policy
- A recent poll showed most wanted states to be left to their own devices
A few months with Sessions as the nation’s top cop have left pot supporters wondering how far he’ll go to roll back Justice Department policy allowing states to set their own pot rules.
Where things stand
As deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein put of which of which week, there is actually a “conflict” between federal along with also state views on marijuana. A drug offender inside the eyes of the federal government is actually just a recreational pot-smoker inside the eyes of a hefty handful of US states along with also DC, where Sessions goes to work each day.
Nevertheless, he has yet to crack the whip on states along with also localities like DC of which allow marijuana use in opposition to federal law.
“We’re not able to go into a state along with also pick up the work of which the police along with also sheriffs have been doing for decades,” Sessions said at a March press conference.
Among those tasked with reviewing Obama-era DOJ policies is actually Steven Cook, a prosecutor who has taken a hard line on sentencing reform along with also liberalizing drug rules.
What Sessions decides to do on pot will come down to the department’s review of another Holder-era rule: the Cole memo.
Asked about department policy in of which March press conference, Sessions said, “The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states along with also what could be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is actually valid.”
Congress along with also the DOJ
The Justice Department has yet to indicate what way the task force will go.
On Tuesday, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski — a Republican via a recreational pot state — asked Rosenstein: “Where are we headed with marijuana?”
Rosenstein gave a lengthy answer, saying the “conflict” between federal along with also state laws remained.
“Jim Cole tried to deal with of which in of which memorandum,” Rosenstein said. “along with also at the moment, of which memorandum is actually still in effect. I can’t — maybe there will be alterations to of which inside the future, although we’re still operating under of which policy.”
“Confusing,” Murkowski responded once Rosenstein was through.
although even if Sessions decides the federal government should change course on state marijuana rules, Congress could set up roadblocks.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican via California, introduced an amendment to the federal budget of which passed in 2014, prohibiting the DOJ via using any money to block medical marijuana on the state level.
In 2015, Reps. Tom McClintock, a California Republican, along with also Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, introduced an amendment going even beyond Rohrabacher’s. If passed, of which could prohibit the Department of Justice via using funds to fight any marijuana activity — medical or recreational — legal under a state law.
As the budget debate heats up again inside the fall ahead of the brand new fiscal year along with also a potential government shutdown in October, debates over these measures have begun to resurface.
“I believe of which could be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly inside the midst of an historic drug epidemic along with also potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions said inside the letter.
The line via some: Sessions has bigger priorities than pot.
Shortly after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Jeff Merkley said Sessions “has additional things on his mind” besides changing the DOJ’s pot policy, although also said he didn’t know what to expect for sure via the task force review.
Advocates across the board expressed a range of cautious optimism as well.
Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert told sy88pgw of which his organization, one of the heavyweights on the pro-pot side, felt “very hopeful” of which Sessions wouldn’t interfere as states along with also localities continued to liberalize their pot laws although also underscored the uncertainty of which early into the brand new administration.