A former member of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis control board wonders what Donald Trump’s appointment for U.S. Attorney General will mean for legal marijuana in the state, both recreational and medical.
President-Elect Donald Trump has indicated he wants Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions as the new US Attorney General.
Sessions has voiced negative opinions on pot, including this comment at a recent hearing on marijuana legalization:
“I mean, we need grownups in Washington that will say marijuana is not the kind of thing to be legalized , it ought not to be minimized, it is in fact a very real danger, and trying to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana,” said Sessions.
Chris Marr is a former state senator from Spokane. He served on the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Control Board, and is currently a regulatory consultant in the cannabis industry.
Marr says while Trump supports state rights on many issues, it’s possible Sessions’ vocal opposition to marijuana could result in various actions.
He cites one memorandum from the previous AG’s office with states that have legal medical cannabis that restrict the federal government from cracking down on dispensaries ,if they are in compliance with state law. That memorandum expires in January, and another one, called the Cole Memorandum, pledged that the feds would not interfere in states where recreational pot is legal.
“On top of that, yes Sessions could rescind the Cole memorandum, which creates I guess, a lot of confusion, around exactly what the approach is of the AG,” said Marr.
Marr says Sessions could also influence the marijuana law enforcement by his ability to appoint the two U.S. attorneys operating in the state. He cites actions in Washington prior to pot legalization when the west side and east side attorneys had very different medical marijuana polices, with the east side one cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries.
“That’s actually something that could kind of exist, absent a wholesale campaign to eradicate marijuana. You might have US attorneys taking action in specific areas of the country taking action at the request of local jurisdiction, with that approach being more or less sanctioned by the AG,” said Marr.
Currently 8 states have legalized recreational marijuana, 28 allow for medical use.