Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not afraid to make his anti-marijuana feelings known to the public. But in a recent appearance on Capitol Hill, the anti-cannabis crusader seemed to dial back his rhetoric.
Sessions appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss his handling of the Department of Justice, and the Attorney General somewhat surprisingly said that Obama-era policies are still in effect when it comes to marijuana.
"Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes," Sessions said.
The policy Sessions refers to is the so-called "Cole Memo," which states that the Department of Justice will not interfere with states that legalize marijuana.
That wasn't the only somewhat surprising thing Sessions said to the committee. He also admitted that the Department of Justice is currently prevented from using its resources to interfere with states that legalize marijuana. And he also agreed with a congressman who said that marijuana isn't as dangerous as heroin.
Of course, none of this really means all that much. Sessions is legally prevented from changing much of the Department of Justice's marijuana policies due to laws passed by Congress. So Sessions saying that Obama-era policies are still in effect doesn't mean he agrees with them, just that he has not other choice but to continue them.
And when the congressman said heroin is more dangerous than marijuana, Sessions simply replied, "I think that's correct," which isn't a particularly passionate response.
But at least Sessions seems to realize he can't make any moves on the marijuana industry at the moment. But considering everything else the Trump administration has done, it can't be assumed Sessions will stay bound by law for long.