U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a number of comments hinting at the possibility that the Department of Justice will crackdown on marijuana in legal states. But it seems something may be in the works now.
In an interview given today, Sessions was asked about what the Trump administration plans to do about more and more states passing marijuana legalization. He responded by saying, "I can't comment on the existence of an investigation at this time." He then went on to say that he doesn't believe that states passing marijuana legalization laws supersede federal laws that prohibit the drug.
"I do not believe there is any argument that because a state legalizes marijuana that the federal law against marijuana is no longer existence," he said. "I do believe that the federal laws clearly are in effect in all 50 states and we will do our best to enforce the laws as we are required to do so."
Sessions made the comments in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who was advocating that the DOJ prosecute the marijuana industry using RICO statues, a series of laws that prohibit federal racketeering that have been used to take down the mafia and other criminal syndicates.
The Attorney General's new comments are simply another in a line of statements from powerful figures in the DOJ threatening the marijuana industry. Last month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he was reviewing policies that prevent the DOJ from prosecuting marijuana cases in legal states and wasn't sure that they were valid.
The question is whether the Trump administration would actually follow through with a crackdown. Just yesterday a poll came out showing that a majority of Republican voters support marijuana legalization. Committing to a cannabis crackdown would be highly unpopular with voters and look bad for a president who is obsessed with poll numbers and popularity. But it remains to be seen if Sessions will be kept on his leash.