U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' anti-marijuana policies are obviously unpopular amongst the pro-legalization crowd. But it turns out even members of Congress aren't supporting his anti-drug crusades, and they're getting ready to do something about it.
According to the Washington Post, Congress is set to renew a set of protections that prevents the Department of Justice from using federal funds to intervene in the affairs of states with legalized medicinal marijuana. The amendment was first passed three years ago and is set to expire in the near future, but a proposal with bipartisan support is expected to be included in a new budget about to be passed by Congress.
In June, a letter leaked to the public in which Sessions argued the amendment would prevent the Department of Justice from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, but it appears his pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Congressman Earl Blumenauer told the Washington Post, "This is the most sympathetic Congress we’ve ever had to issues of cannabis."
The biggest hurdle for the amendment will not involve marijuana but rather the government funding bill itself. The U.S. government is set to shut down on October 1st if a spending bill is not passed by Congress. While GOP leaders have promised a bill will come together, there are possible warning signs on the horizon. President Donald Trump said yesterday in a public speech that he would be willing to let the government shutdown if his proposed border wall is not included in the spending bill.
Even if the amendment is passed, Sessions could still use the DOJ to enforce anti-marijuana policies. The law would only protect states with legalized medicinal marijuana, not recreational marijuana. That means Sessions could order U.S. attorneys to go after recreational dispensaries and cultivators in states where it's legal.
But the question is whether President Trump would allow Sessions to do so. The president is already highly unpopular, and using the DOJ to attack legal marijuana facilities would probably not be too endearing to the public.
So for now, Sessions might be stuck simply preaching about the horrors of marijuana to his fellow out-of-touch Republicans rather than doing anything about it.