Eleven United States Senators, including Oregon's Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, today sent a letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that he leave marijuana policy up to the states.
Pro-pot activists fear Sessions will throw the party van in reverse and drive the country back to the days of Reefer Madness and hard-core drug war. Sessions has said that "good people don't use marijuana" and, as WW reported on Tuesday following a meeting with state attorneys general, mocked marijuana's potential to alleviate the prescription opiate addiction epidemic.
The Senators' letter to Sessions asks that he uphold the policy of President Barack Obama's Justice Department, which called for federal law enforcement agencies to defer to states that had adopted "strong regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale, and production of marijuana."
Last week [White House spokesman Sean] Spicer suggested that while President [Donald] Trump supports medical marijuana, there is “a big difference between that and recreational marijuana,” alleging that medical marijuana states “have set forth a process to administer and regulate” that usage. Mr. Spicer also stated that he believed the public would see “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws. While we appreciate the Administration’s apparent recognition that state-implemented medical marijuana laws are regulated effectively, we believe the same is true of states that regulate recreational marijuana use, and those that have decriminalized use.
The letter continues:
It is essential that states that have implemented any type ofpractical, effective marijuana policy receive immediate assurance from the DOJ that it will respect the ability of states to enforce thoughtful, sensible drug policies in ways that do not threaten the public’s health and safety. This ensures that state infrastructure, including tax revenue, small businesses, and jobs, can be protected; DOJ resources can be used most effectively; and most importantly, that marijuana can be properly regulated to improve public health and safety.
The full letter can be found here.
Sessions has bigger problems than pot, at the moment. More than 100 members of Congress have called for his resignation in the wake of revelations in the Washington Post that hey may have perjured himself during his confirmation hearings last month, when he denied having any contact with representatives of the Russian government, even though, as the Post reported, he had multiple such contacts.
Merkley is among those who've called for Sessions' resignation. Wyden, who as WW reported in detail last week is involved in the secret Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of the Trump organization's ties to Russia, has demanded that he recuse himself from any such investigation, and called for an independent special prosecutor.