In a May letter to Congress, the attorney general grouped medical marijuana providers as part of the ‘historic drug epidemic’
Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a recent Justice Department event. — Getty Images
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pushing for Congress to undo federal protections for medical marijuana providers that have been in place since 2014.
According to a May 1 letter that was made public on Monday, Sessions is targeting the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from prohibiting states to do authorize, distribute, possess or cultivate medical marijuana. As first reported by Massroots.com and verified by the Washington Post, Sessions wrote that the bipartisan legislation would “inhibit [the Justice Department’s] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.”
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote to Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Schumer of New York, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
Given President Donald Trump’s signing statement earlier this month that he’d treat the federal medical marijuana protections “consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” the attorney general’s focus on medicinal weed is not surprising. But it is a puzzling issue to challenge. An April Quinnipiac poll found that 94 percent of the public approved of medical marijuana. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment also enjoys a significant high level of bipartisan support, Massroots reported.
The discovery of Sessions’ letter on medical marijuana came shortly before the attorney general is set to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday regarding Russia’s role in the 2016 election.