Jeff Sessions was grilled by Congress on Wednesday about many topics including what the Justice Department will do about state legal cannabis businesses. He ducked and swerved around their questions like a prize fighter, drawing concerns that either President Trump had not discussed his conversation with Sen. Cory Gardner with the Attorney General or that Jeff Sessions does not care about Trump’s promises to the Colorado senator.
“The federal government has passed some laws on marijuana that I’m not able to remove from the books, ” Jeff Sessions said during an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Congress — you — have passed them. They are on the books.”
“Our priorities are fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine,” he said. “People are dying by massive amounts as a result of those drugs. We have very few, almost zero, virtually zero small marijuana cases. But if they are a big deal and illegally acting and violating federal law, our agents may work that case.”
Sen. Gardner and President Trump spoke over the phone just a little over a week ago where they made a trade. Sen. Gardner would stop blocking Justice Department nominees from being appointed in return for a promise from the president that he would not allow the justice department to pursue cases against Colorado state legal cannabis businesses and consumers despite the fact that Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo at the beginning of the year. Whether the promise extended to other states that have legalized cannabis was not clear.
While on the campaign trail, Trump promised that when it comes to marijuana legalization, he would let states decide for themselves if it was appropriate. Since taking office though he has said little on the topic despite cannabis being one of the hottest topics in the country. Putting a strong marijuana opponent like Jeff Sessions into the attorney general position really had people scratching their heads like Sen. Gardner who supported the president while he was campaigning.