Despite the fact marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, following Election Day, 65 million Americans now live in states that authorize adult recreational use.
Which is precisely why the marijuana industry is uneasy over the notion of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions being confirmed as the United States’ next Attorney General — as leader of the Justice Department, the outspoken marijuana-opponent would have the power to force marijuana-friendly states into compliance with federal law.
“We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger,” Sessions said at a Senate hearing in April.
As Sessions confirmation hearings are poised to begin next week, the DCMJ, the group that spearheaded the successful campaign to legalize marijuana in the District of Colombia, on Tuesday kicked off an effort to urge the Senate to stop Sessions from becoming the next AG in order to protect the burgeoning industry.
“We have come to assume Senator Sessions will overturn the will of more than 70% of the voters in the District of Columbia that voted for full legalization if made Attorney General,” said DCMJ co-founders Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller in a letter to the Senate. “He will be empowered to ignore the 60% of Americans, who support legal cannabis or the more than 80% of U.S. citizens, who support the legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.”
The letter continued, “The facts are that a legal cannabis industry: provides tens of thousands of jobs to hardworking, law-abiding citizens; stops unjust laws that disproportionately impact minorities; furnishes access to life-changing treatments for critically ill patients; empowers responsible small business owners over criminal dealers and cartels; generates valuable economic development, jobs, and provides much needed revenues for strapped state budgets.”
The DCMJ and other drug reform advocates can’t be certain of Sessions’ agenda as AG until the confirmation hearing begins Tuesday. Nevertheless they’re prepared to fight if necessary.
“We will use all practical means to fight the threat Sessions poses to overturn the will of the voters, ignore science and medical professionals and put black market marijuana back in the hands of international organized crime rings,” Eidinger said.