After much deliberation, the U.S. Senate confirmed anti-marijuana candidate Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Wednesday with a vote of 52-47.
"I can't express how appreciative I am for those of you who stood by me during this difficult time", said Sessions, "By your vote tonight I have been given a real challenge. I'll do my best to be worthy of it."
The anti-marijuana Republican Senator from Alabama has a volatile past with cannabis reform, as the staunch conservative has been known to support anti-marijuana rhetoric, and the drug war during his time in office under the Reagan administration.
“I think one of [Obama’s] great failures…has been obvious to me, is his lax treatment and comments on marijuana. It reverses twenty years …of hostility towards drugs begun when Nancy Reagan started the ‘Just Say No’ program,” said Sessions, at a caucus meeting in April in Washington, D.C.
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” continued the southern Republican at The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control meeting on the state of recreational marijuana.
"Jeff Sessions' views are out of step with mainstream America and they are in conflict with the laws regarding marijuana in over half of the states in this country," said Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML, in a statement.
When asked about cannabis policy at last month's confirmation hearing, Sessions said, 'if Congress no longer wanted to criminalize marijuana, it should pass a law that changes the rules.' He added, "It’s 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."
Allen St. Pierre is one of the most prominent, longtime cannabis advocates and just this year, was named partner in the SAI (Sensible Alternative Investments), providing expertise in the cannabis space. Former the Executive Director of NORML, he says the new appointment should serve as motivation for cannabis supporters.
"The nascent cannabis industry should have laser-like focus on bi-partisan lobbying at the local, state and federal levels," advises St. Pierre.
St. Pierre also believes a cannabis-supporting FDA appointment could keep AG Session in-check when it comes to protecting state's rights to reform the plant.
"The precarious counterweight to a rabidly anti-cannabis Attorney General at DEA would be a forward-looking and non-prohibitionist Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," he explains, "If rumors are to be believed that Peter Thiel, a major cannabis space investor, will influence the selection of FDA commissioner, and that the next commissioner will be making a recommendation for de-scheduling cannabis (in effect treating cannabis like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine products) or down scheduling cannabis at minimum from Schedule I to II, then it’s likely that Sessions will begrudgingly implement the change in policy."