Trump's Attorney General Pick Jeff Sessions Is Vehemently Anti-Pot

By McCarton Ackerman 11/22/16

At a Senate hearing in April, Sessions said that "good people don't smoke marijuana."

Trump's Attorney General Pick Jeff Sessions Is Vehemently Anti-Pot
Senator Jeff Sessions Photo via YouTube

State-level marijuana legalization could be radically altered next year with President-elect Donald Trump’s selection for his new U.S. Attorney General, a man who is under the archaic impression that smoking pot is a character flaw.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has long been a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. His comments date as far back as 1986, according to the New York Times, when he reportedly joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was okay until I found out they smoked pot.”

Kevin Sabet, of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, even told the Washington Post via e-mail that Sessions “is by far the single most outspoken opponent of marijuana legalization in the U.S. Senate. If I were betting on the prospects for marijuana legalization, I’d be shorting.”

During a Senate drug hearing in April, Sessions declared that “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.”

He also raised eyebrows by insisting that government lawmakers needed to get the word out that “this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny ... and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Unsurprisingly, legalization advocates have slammed Session’s views. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance said in a statement that Sessions “is a drug war dinosaur, which is the last thing the nation needs now.”

A Gallup poll released last month showed that 60% of Americans support marijuana legalization, and Public Policy Polling from August 2015 showed voters in both parties believe that the government shouldn’t obstruct marijuana laws at the state level.

Tom Angell, of the cannabis advocacy group Marijuana Majority, noted that “any crackdown against broadly popular laws in a growing number of states would create huge political problems they don’t need and will use lots of political capital they’d be better off spending on issues the new president cares a lot more about.”

Trump does not support marijuana legalization federally, matching the views of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. He has also surrounded himself with people who are anti-marijuana, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. However, Trump has gone on record saying that medical and recreational marijuana should be left to the states.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.