Marijuana activists are increasingly fearful over the upcoming vote to confirm Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to the highest law enforcement position in the country.
The Senate will vote Wednesday on the confirmation of Sessions, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the post of attorney general, and officials in states with legal weed laws are concerned he could upend their burgeoning industries. Sessions is a staunch opponent of marijuana reform and some activists fear his appointment may lead to further raids in states where marijuana is legal. Sessions fielded several questions on federal marijuana policy during his hearing in January, however, his answers did not go far in clarifying whether he will be adversarial to state laws on pot, reports The Sacramento Bee.
“There’s a lot of nervousness,” Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, told The Sacramento Bee. “First and foremost, he’s made it real clear that he is not a fan of the product or the industry. Our group is comprised of hundreds and hundreds of businesses that want to stop looking over their shoulder. They want to be treated like any other business.”
Trump promised to respect states’ rights on the issue during the campaign, but it is unclear if he will maintain that position. Some activists claim Trump will take a hands-off approach to the enforcement of current state laws and give Sessions permission to push a pro-marijuana prohibition agenda.
They allege there is already a plan in place to begin rebuking recent state decisions to legalize the substance.
“The rumor I’ve heard is that they will be cracking down with D.C. first,” Adam Eidinger, founder of the D.C. Cannabis Coalition, told Forbes. “That a large number of dispensaries are going to get shut down straight up, shut down by the DEA six months from now. Then all the states that legalized are going to get letters saying ‘No, don’t do it.’”
Sessions signaled during his January hearing he may exercise a good degree of discretion on whether enforcement of federal pot laws is a responsible use of resources, saying it will be a matter of “good judgement.” Sessions said in April lawmakers have failed to spread the message to the public, especially the youth, that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”