Sessions Asks Congress to Undo Marijuana Protections

Marijuana plants soak up some artificial sun. The rooms in Trulieve's grow house simulate day and night for the plants.

Even as a Senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions was easily the most vocal opponent of legalizing marijuana, medical or otherwise. As Attorney General, he’s in a much better place to actually do something about it.

The Attorney General responded to findings from the Journal of the American Medical Association that opioid use was down in states that allow medical marijuana use by saying, “I reject the idea that America will be in a better place if it can just have more marijuana.”  Sessions called marijuana only ‘slightly less awful’ than heroin.
Now, in a letter the Congressional leaders obtained by a technology company that focuses on the cannabis industry, Sessions is asking Congress not to renew a protection for medical marijuana states known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment.  That amendment is a rider to the federal budget that prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to stop states from enacting their own medical marijuana laws.  It was first passed in 2014 and has been renewed every year since.
Because of it, federal authorities have taken a largely hands-off approach for states that went through the motions to legalize medical marijuana use.  It’s unclear how Congress will respond, but if protections are not renewed, it could mean the Justice Department could pursue federal prosecutions against people and businesses in states like Florida, which recently legalized medical marijuana use, even though those people and businesses are operating legally under state laws.

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