Jeff Sessions Actually Might Be Chill About Weed, Maybe

He reportedly reassured some senators privately that he would respect states' rights when it comes to legal weed, prior to his confirmation.
March 4, 2017, 12:09am
Win McNamee / Getty

Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who earlier this week said America would be worse off if marijuana was "sold at every corner grocery store"—might not be leading a federal crackdown on legalized weed anytime soon. According to Politico, Sessions privately promised some Republican senators that he will respect states' rights when it comes to weed legalization.

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul said Sessions told him privately that "he would have some respect for states' rights on these things." Paul added, "I'll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places." Cory Gardner—a Republican senator from Colorado, where weed is legal—told Politico that White House officials led him to believe that they planned on continuing the Obama-era policy that allows states to impose their own marijuana laws.

"Nothing at this point has changed," Gardner said.

Over the past two months, Democrats and libertarian Republicans have grown increasingly concerned that the Trump administration might make it more difficult for states to legalize recreational marijuana. When Sean Spicer was asked about it at a recent press conference, he said, "When you see something like the opioid-addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people."

On Thursday, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Republican Lisa Murkowski, and nine other senators sent a letter to Sessions expressing concern about Spicer's remarks.

"We respectfully request that you uphold DOJ's existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational use," they wrote. "It is critical that states continue to implement these laws."

Unfortunately, Sessions—who just this week was accused of lying about his meeting with a Russian diplomat—has still allegedly suggested that weed is worse than violent white nationalism. According to a former colleague, in 1986 Sessions said he was "OK" with Klu Klux Klan members "until he learned that they smoked marijuana." Twenty years later, we only can hope Sessions's stance on weed has softened a little bit. Moreover, let's hope that his stance on the KKK has done the reverse.