Sen. Jeff Sessions is Donald Trump’s Attorney General pick. For us, the greatest concern is how Sessions views federal power under the Constitution.
Marijuana provides a really good barometer on how someone views the proper role of the federal government vs the states under the constitution. While more states have defied the feds on weed than on any issue at any time in history, there are some who still want to flex federal muscle and force a one-size-fits-all national decision.
This comes from both sides of the issue.
Some legalization advocates want to use the power of Washington D.C. to force a legalization across the entire country. On the other side, some want to use federal power to shut down whatever the states try to do. Under the Constitution, both are wrong.
President-elect Trump repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws if elected president. But his AG pick, Jeff Sessions, is one of the most hostile voices in Washington against such policies.
Sessions, a former U.S. attorney, criticized President Obama for his administration’s approach to the issue. “His lax treatment and comments on marijuana, it’s been obvious, it reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs, begun really, when Nancy Reagan started the ‘Just Say No’ program,” the senator said.
This is bad on two levels.
- First of all, Pres. Obama did not give the states “lax treatment” on marijuana. In fact, he was more aggressive and anti-10th Amendment than his two predecessors combined. This statement shows Sessions is either a liar or doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
- He clearly opposes choices made by the people of each state, and is hostile to the balance of powers under the Constitution.
Now, as AG, he might have to rein in his own personal views and follow the promised policy goals of his new boss, but there’s no way to know right now because the AG usually has a lot of independent policy authority and prosecutorial discretion.
What is absolutely certain is that Sessions doesn’t respect the 10th Amendment on marijuana. And because of that, he shouldn’t be trusted with power on other issues either.