Marijuana reforms have come a long way and the people elected into office have always had a major role to play in determining the success or failure of these reforms. About ten days following Donald Trump’s election into office, Americans have started to get signals of how things may turn out for cannabis with Trump’s administration. This is especially after looking at the people Trump is bringing on board to work with him in his administration. Just a few days ago, Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions to the office of US attorney general. During the campaign period, Trump pledged support for state laws regarding marijuana. However, nominees to his administration may give Americans some reason to worry. In the past, Sessions has openly shown disinterest in cannabis and most probably, very little can be expected from him as far as the support for marijuana reforms is concerned. However, this is not already determined but his past sentiments send out faint hopes on marijuana use.
Sessions’ Stand on Marijuana
So, what has Session said concerning marijuana in the past? Over the years, he has been quoted expressing his views on marijuana, most of which were not positive connotations. When President Ronald Reagan nominated him for a federal judgeship in 1986, he openly said that he didn’t have a problem with the Ku Klux Clan but changed his stand when he realized that they smoked marijuana. Although he termed this as a joke when questioned about it, he seemed to continue expressing similar views about marijuana and its use. In one of the Senate hearings in 2016, he claimed that good people don’t smoke weed. This was his response to state marijuana laws. In yet another forum, he was of the opinion that adults in Washington should not support the legalization of marijuana. In his sentiments, Sessions asserted that marijuana was a real danger to the welfare of Americans. Moreover, he carried on with the discussion, making implications that even the debate on the decriminalizing of weed could result in a gateway to other drugs. Sessions was of the opinion that, if the discussion about cannabis legalization continued, it would lead to an increased consumption of other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
Several months later, following Sessions’ assertions, the incumbent Attorney General, Loretta Lynch rubbished the claims of gateway theory. The attorney general said that many people addicted to hazardous substances had a problem of prescription drugs. Lynch further added that, it was not like we are looking at marijuana as a particular gateway. Sessions’ criticism continued throughout the Obama administration period especially on how the federal government dealt with state marijuana legalization laws. The nominated attorney general waiting to take office in the new administration said that Obama was careless in making comments about weed. He reiterated that Obama’s stand on the drug reversed America’s 20 years of war on drugs with a “Just Say No’ plan that was started by Nancy Reagan.
To further highlight on the negatives of marijuana, Sessions took on Lady Gaga’s case of addiction issues in a hearing that included a former Attorney General, Eric Holder. He said that Gaga claimed that she was addicted to marijuana and that it was harmful. He made a proposition that Gaga would talk to the president, a close ally and start to pull back on the legalization position held by several states in America concerning the use of marijuana. Session claimed that weed was not a friend to the health of the American community.
What do we expect when Sessions Takes Office?
It is evident that Sessions has had harsh stands on marijuana. However, we don’t know how Donald Trump will influence his decisions when he takes office. Hopefully, Trump will stand by what he said during the campaign period concerning state-legal marijuana laws and markets. Sessions’ appointment into the next administration is largely believed to reflect on Trump’s view on immigration more than marijuana. For Trump, he has previously expressed belief in the medical benefits found in marijuana. However, he still believes that the matter should be addressed through individual states. Trump said that he agrees with the rights of each individual state to establish whether to legalize marijuana and how each of them can control the adult-use of weed. Nonetheless, Trump has been going back on his past statements and therefore, advocates for marijuana reforms have been left guessing. The only hope left for the voters is to contact their elected officials and request support for programs put in place by the state. It is the voters who decriminalized cannabis in eight states during the 2016 election through the ballot. Therefore, this is not where it ends. Everyone has a responsibility to carry on with the marijuana reforms from time to time.