Jeff Sessions says Obama Era Policies to Stay
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today that the guidelines and policies of President Obama regarding federal interference in state marijuana laws will remain in effect as reported by Forbes. Sessions also did an about-face when he said that he now believed that marijuana is not as detrimental as heroin.
Sessions said that "Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes." Sessions has been vocal in the past about his opposition to legalizing weed.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder penned the Obama-era federal stance on legal marijuana with the Cole Memo in 2013. The memo set up guidelines for the federal government to follow when it came to interfering in state’s cannabis laws. The guidelines stipulated that the federal government would not interfere in states with legal weed and would allow states to come up with their own regulations.
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act, along with the fatal drug heroin. Sessions has the ability to remove weed from the Schedule 1 classification as the current U.S. Attorney General. The Schedule 1 classification is for addictive drugs with no medical benefits. After Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) stated to the House Judiciary Committee in an oversight hearing that weed is not as hazardous as heroin, the Attorney General said that he agreed that the congressman’s sentiment was correct.
Sessions stopped short of revealing any plans to re-classify marijuana yet, but said that the government is bound by a Justice Department budget rule stipulating that the federal government can’t use federal funds to enforce state medical marijuana laws.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.