For quite some time now those who work in the cannabis industry, or who have helped shape it – and even those who rely on it for the only medicine that provides them relief – have been in fear of what could happen if Trump’s Attorney General nominee, Jeff Sessions, is confirmed. Sessions is known for being an extreme prohibitionist, who still believes the tales of reefer madness. Since he was nominated for the position there have been multiple cases of activists protesting and organizations like NORML and countless volunteers calling their senators to prevent his confirmation.
“I think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state and distribution of it an illegal act,” Sessions said. “So if we need to…if that’s something [that] is not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not so much the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”
Unfortunately, now Sessions is officially confirmed as Attorney General – however, if a group of lawmakers calling themselves the “Congressional Cannabis Caucus” are right, this could be just the motivation that some legislators need to be persuaded to support marijuana policy reform. The group intends to re-introduce multiple bills that would aim to protect state cannabis industries, as well as a bill called the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act”, which was previously introduced in 2015 but never got a hearing in the House of Representatives or the Senate at the time.
“I’m more hopeful than ever before that we can move legislation like the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” Polis said.
Like this group of U.S. lawmakers, a handful of lawmakers in Washington state are trying to make it harder for the federal government to interfere with their growing medical and recreational cannabis industries. The bill introduced would attempt to prevent local law enforcement from helping federal investigators with anything related to their cannabis industry.
House Bill 1895 would do this by “prohibiting the use of public resources to assist the federal government in any activity that might impede or interfere with Washington state’s regulation of marijuana and marijuana-related products.”
Hopefully this bill will pass quickly now that Sessions has been confirmed as Attorney General for the Trump Administration. While he has not made recent comments about making trouble for the states who allow patients or adults to buy marijuana legally, he has made it clear that he believes his role is to enforce current federal laws – and that if people want to see the industry left alone, they ought to change the laws.