Confirmation hearings began yesterday for Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions, the notoriously anti-cannabis drug-war zealot. Since the Donald nominated nominated the Alabama senator, cannabis advocates across the country have warned that Sessions as Attorney General means massive steps backwards for the industry.
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Questioned about medical marijuana during yesterday’s hearing, Sessions implied that he plans to enforce federal marijuana laws. In the hearing he explained that he would encourage “Trump not to set policies that conflict with federal law,” according to a press release. Translation: Sessions will advise the President-elect not to allow states to set their own policies in regards to medical and adult use cannabis programs—something President Trump has said he would do.
“If Senator Sessions goes after the regulated cannabis industry, he will destroy tens of thousands of jobs, shut down hundreds of small businesses and take away millions of dollars from our schools,” says Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots, one of the cannabis industry’s leading technology platforms.“Hopefully the Trump Administration supports states' rights on cannabis legalization, despite Senator Sessions' personal views.”
Although many cannabis advocates are worried about the how Sessions will affect the industry, some are approaching the upcoming administration with optimistic caution. “Despite Session’s comments about enforcing federal laws, we expect the Trump Administration will make good on its commitment to states' rights,” says Nate Bradley, the Executive Director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. "The administration’s press secretary reaffirmed that Trump’s entire cabinet, including Sessions, will be ‘implementing a Trump agenda,’ and that Senator Sessions is ‘well aware of that.’”
For now, whatever "Trump's agenda" means when it comes to the question of marijuana remains to be seen.