Washington, DC — Today, confirmation hearings began for attorney general nominee, Senator Jeff Sessions. During the hearing, Sessions was questioned about medical marijuana by Senators Patrick Leahy and Mike Lee. Sessions implied that he would enforce current federal marijuana laws. Earlier in the hearing, Sessions said he would advise President Trump not to set policies that would conflict with federal law. While Sessions’ response did not explicitly state he would shut down state marijuana programs, his response to Senator Lee was, “the United States Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state and the distribution of it an illegal act,” and that, “it’s not so much the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our jobs and enforce laws as effectively as we are able.” Sessions concluded that Congress must change the law if they do not want the Attorney General to prosecute marijuana crimes.
In response, Mike Liszewski, Director of Government Affairs for Americans for Safe Access, released the following statement:
“The vague answers given by Senator Jeff Sessions during today’s Attorney General confirmation hearing provided little comfort for the 2 million American patients who rely on state-run medical cannabis programs to provide them with physician-recommended medicine. Each of the 44 states that have medical cannabis programs, including 15 states with patient access to CBD, such as Sessions home state of Alabama, technically violate federal law.
“While it is encouraging the President-Elect Trump’s incoming press secretary has said Sessions will abide by Trump’s position on medical cannabis, Sessions has yet to make such a commitment to respect state medical cannabis laws. With that said, Sessions still has an opportunity to set the record straight and pledge that he will respect medical cannabis patients and the state programs upon which they rely. Similarly, Congress can put the issue to rest by passing legislation to respect state medical laws.”