As a U.S. Senator and now as U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has long been opposed to legalizing marijuana.
Yet as California, Colorado and several other states have legalized the drug, a showdown is brewing.
Speaking to a meeting of the nation's Attorneys Generals on February 28, Sessions commented on drug policy.
"I'm not sure we're going to be a better, healthier nation if [marijuana] is being sold from every corner grocery store,'' Sessions said, notes USA Today. "We don't need to be legalizing marijuana, and we need to be cracking down on heroin.''
Sessions continued, Alabama Media Group notes:
I'd seen a line in The Washington Post ... that I remember from the '80s. This one was: 'Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.' Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that's been made out there, just almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana, or even its benefits. I doubt that's true. Maybe science will prove I'm wrong, but at this point in time you and I have a responsibility to use our best judgment.
Sessions has called for a review of the Obama administration's policy on pot, Politico reports.
“[Sessions] told me he would have some respect for states' right on these things," Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, said. "And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not the [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention."
However, a bipartisan effort, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, are pushing for clarification of the U.S. Department of Justice's stance, and urging consistency with the Obama administration's policies.
"We respectfully request that you uphold DOJ's existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational use," the senators wrote in a March 2 letter addressed to Sessions. "It is critical that states continue to implement these laws."
"Do they really respect states' rights?" Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat from Nevada, added. "Then you should respect all of them, not just pick and choose the ones that you want to support or not. Many states have gone not only the path of Nevada of recreational marijuana but medical marijuana. How can you pick or choose one or another?"