Committee members questioned the the Alabama Republican for almost 4 hours on a wide range of thorny issues before anyone uttered the word marijuana. There are any number of ways a Sessions Justice Department could make things hard on Colorado's marijuana industry, from stricter regulations to straight-up raiding pot shops. Jeff Sessions' approach to enforcing federal marijuana laws, he says they should get Congress to change them. But at the federal level, marijuana remains an illegal substance, classified in the same group as heroin and LSD. She said she did not, and then Sessions discussed his concerns about the administration's lack of enforcement of marijuana laws. "But absolutely it is a problem of resources for the federal government". "The Department of Justice under Lynch and Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion, marijuana".
The "guidelines" Leahy likely referred to is commonly known as the "Cole Memo".
President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Attorney General Sen. In the memo Cole instructed prosecutors to not prosecute the operation of legal and well-regulated medical marijuana programs.
"I know it won't be an easy decision", he said, of how to deal with the 29 states that have some form of legal marijuana, according to the New York Times. "I'd be glad to look at it".
Leahy: "Would you say that's not your view today?"
"Senator Sessions" views are out of step with mainstream America and they are in conflict with laws throughout a majority of states", said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. The response by the Department of Justice during the Obama administration has been interesting and it's been different than it has in other areas.
Audio: Hear Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT ask Sen. "However, the nomination of Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General of the United States is a tremendous cause for concern to medical cannabis patients and their families". "It's lawful to share marijuana in DC, but not sell it".
Sessions himself has a long history of vehemently opposing cannabis law reform, and it has remained an open question as to whether Trump cares enough about the issue to overrule an attorney general who might want to crack down.
"He also recognized that enforcing federal marijuana laws would be dependent upon the availability of resources, the scarcity of which poses a problem", Mr. Capecchi said. "We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we're able".
The words marijuana and cannabis were not spoken again for the remainder of the day's many questions on civil rights and immigration laws.
On the eve of confirmation hearings for U.S. Attorney General-nominee Jeff Sessions, legalization advocates called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to press the Alabama senator to state clearly whether he would overturn the will of the voters by cracking down on legalized marijuana. "It is clear that he was too afraid to say the "reefer madness' things he said just a year ago, and that's progress". But he made it clear throughout the hearing that he will enforce federal law.
Trump promised to respect states' rights on the issue during the campaign, but it is unclear if he will maintain that position once he is sworn into office.
Sessions did add that the guidelines "may not have been followed" in all cases, suggesting that he may end up keeping the so-called Cole memo in place, although perhaps with a mandate that the Department of Justice would more closely track whether states are in compliance by preventing interstate trafficking, use by minors and drugged driving, among other factors laid out by the Obama administration.