President Trump has been on a firing rampage and the latest news is that Jeff Sessions is now up on the chopping block. Jeff Sessions marijuana stance is well known, he does not like it nor accepts that it has any medicinal value. Many cannabis advocates may want to applaud his departure, however Trump’s first choice as a replacement is perhaps much worse.
Scott Pruitt is currently the Administer of the Environmental Protection Agency and the former state attorney general for Oklahoma. His history towards cannabis has been even more aggressive than Jeff Sessions and he recently referred to state legalized cannabis as a “state-authorized pollutant.”
As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt filed a federal lawsuit against neighboring Colorado’s marijuana policies. While the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided not to take the case, briefs from Pruitt and his Nebraska co-plaintiff made clear a personal disdain for cannabis legalization.
“Colorado authorized the generation of a harmful, illegal substance that by the foreseeable operation of users and abusers inevitably enters and causes injury in Nebraska and Oklahoma,” it said. “Nebraska and Oklahoma can no more prevent Colorado’s marijuana from crossing its borders than it can prevent its winds from blowing and rivers from flowing.”
Pruitt and his Nebraska counterpart also compared the possibility that the Supreme Court wouldn’t overturn Colorado’s marijuana law to “saying that a tavern keeper cannot be held responsible for the drunk who kills a family with his car even though he knowingly sold the drunk ten beers in two hours.”
Perhaps even more alarming from a potential U.S. attorney general, filings from Pruitt’s office in the Oklahoma case assert that states don’t have the right to enact their own cannabis laws in contravention of federal prohibition. He even went so far as to imply that local officials charged with implementing legalization policies could be prosecuted under federal law.
Should Trump end up firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then the president’s stance towards state or nationally legalized cannabis will be even more of a mystery. He was very clear about supporting states’ rights to decide while on the campaign trail, but ever since he took office the legalization movement has felt threatened. Would you rather have Jeff Sessions or Scott Pruitt as U.S. Attorney General from the perspective of a cannabis advocate?