Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at Georgetown on Saturday and when a student asked about what the Justice Department plans on doing about state legalized marijuana, his reply was that they would not be working small marijuana cases. What exactly qualifies as a small marijuana case, he did not elaborate on, but it is a very different response from Sessions concerning marijuana than people are used to hearing.
Earlier this year Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo which basically protected small state legal marijuana businesses from federal prosecutors. If Sessions and the Justice Department do not plan on pursuing small marijuana crimes, then why exactly he rescinded the Cole Memo is more unclear than ever.
“I am not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that possession of marijuana is legal under United States law,” Sessions said, answering student questions after the speech at Georgetown’s law school. But, he added, federal prosecutors “haven’t been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now.”
Of particular interest are problems that federal authorities have tried for years to tackle, like illegal marijuana-growing operations on national parklands and gangs that peddle pot along with more harmful drugs. Some law enforcement officials in pot-legal states argue the legal trade has caused unintended problems like black-market marijuana growing and dealing by people who don’t even try to conform to the legal framework.
“Those are the kinds of things each one of those U.S. attorneys will decide how to handle,” Sessions said.
President Trump and his attorney general are not getting along well and the president’s stance on state legalized marijuana is very unclear. It is possible that higher authorities applied some pressure on Jeff Sessions to lighten up his comments towards marijuana. What do you think qualifies as a small marijuana case in the eyes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Do you think that U.S. attorneys around the country are clear on what a small marijuana case is?