Several states in the U.S. have voted to legalize medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) to increase the options for current medical treatments which communities have access to. At present, marijuana still falls under the Schedule I classification — an identification among drugs that have no medical use, and should never be considered as treatment for medical conditions even for serious cases.
It should be remembered that during his campaign, Donald Trump was consistent in his stand that marijuana legalization will depend on the decision of the states. However, on November 18, Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to hold the position as U.S. Attorney General, which may turn the tides as the senator from Alabama is known for his antagonistic view on marijuana. With his new designation, Sessions has also come to forward his challenge for the states and people who are for the use of recreational and medical marijuana.
The general public is now wondering what will happen to the ongoing clamor for the legalization of medical marijuana, given that a number of debates claim that its use contributes a lot to the medical sector. Will the incoming Trump administration give full support to the cause of Sessions? Is this administration going to launch a war against marijuana? Is Trump’s pick to take on the job as U.S. Attorney General already the answer to the questions above?
Given that 100 percent of Americans live in a country where weed is still prohibited by federal law, U.S. states – especially those that have recently approved recreational and medical marijuana – are waiting for what is about to happen to their decision.
Who is Jeff Sessions?
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has been nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney General by incoming President Donald Trump, following former AGs Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who are both African Americans.
Sessions graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree from Alabama School of Law in the year 1973. Before entering politics, Sessions practiced law in Alabama, and also served in the United States Army Reserve until the year 1986. He has sponsored bills that are related to health, immigration, international affairs, economics, and public finance. Sessions is a Republican senator from Alabama, who has served the country for two decades.
Before he expressed his support to Trump, he is known as a senator who has conservative perspectives on major issues like the U.S. pro-life movement, reforms on immigration, and same-sex marriage.
As his personal response to fight crimes in the country, he authored the Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Law of 2000 wherein additional funds were authorized to be used for blood and DNA tests that are critical in the investigation of pending crimes. Serving in the senate for two decades has earned him several awards, which include the American Conservative Union Award for Conservative Excellence, the Watchdogs of the Treasury Golden Bulldog Award, the Coalition of Republican Environment Advocates Teddy Roosevelt Environmental Award, and the Alabama Farmers Federation Service to Agriculture Award.
Because of his exemplary passion and commitment to his duty, Session was elected in the Senate for his fourth term, getting roughly 97 percent of the total votes at that time.
His Stand on Marijuana and Other Drugs
Sessions is known for his strong opposing view on marijuana, earning the dub as one of the “steadfast drug warriors” in the U.S. He has made a mark for his stand against the use of the drug, but his statement that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” has created a significant outburst in the U.S., given that twenty-nine states have already voted for its legalization, specifically its medical benefits.
Being a conservative politician that he is, it is no surprise that his antagonistic view will continue, and probably this time, will be stronger and will be more aggressive, more so because of his designation as chief of the country’s Justice Department. His stand is to protect his country from the dangerous drug which, for him, does more harm than good. His call to the government consistently leans toward his view that such concern should be taken seriously, so that they can easily convince the youth not to do drugs.
In 2014, Sessions was in the news due to his criticism against FBI Director James Comey, who suggested to loosen the government’s restrictions on applicants who have tried using marijuana. In his statement, Sessions said that giving such consideration could be interpreted as an American leadership that does not put the much-needed attention to strictly prohibit marijuana.
As of this writing, Sessions has not yet discussed any of his plans to combat the use of recreational and medical marijuana. However, if he decides to push through with them, expect that he will pull all the stops to implement his plans. Most likely to become the country’s top prosecutor against drug use, Sessions is expected to have strong influence on future decisions to be made by the administration that will result to significant effects on the growing cannabis industry and the use of it.
However, given that U.S. states are focusing on resolving more pressing issues such as child pornography, financial fraud, terrorism, and firearms trafficking, states are less likely to consider cannabis as a threat to their communities.
The lack of a clear stand by Trump against drugs might still be a venue for Sessions to continue his aggressive fight against it. While Trump has applauded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his current initiatives to curb the issue on drugs, he still has not emphasized his full commitment to what he plans to do on U.S. soil. For some of his fellow politicians who maintain their voice in the issue, Trump is less likely to create a stand that would disappoint his supporters.
If the existing plans are going to push through, Sessions will be sworn in as the new U.S. Attorney General as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017.
[Imge by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Creative Commons]