Jeff Sessions’s marijuana crackdown policy opens divisions among Republicans

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By Karen Tumulty | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to reopen the door to more federal enforcement of marijuana laws has created a growing backlash within his own party, and potentially an election-year problem for some of its most vulnerable members.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who has announced plans to block all Justice Department nominees unless Sessions backs down, met with the attorney general on Wednesday but said the two are no closer to agreement beyond a pledge to “continue our discussions and conversations, and perhaps even expanding those conversations to others who are in Congress.”

Meanwhile, Gardner said he is marshaling fellow lawmakers to oppose the new policy. A dozen senators met Tuesday in Gardner’s office “to talk about what we need to be doing legislatively and the direction we should be pursuing in Congress on this matter,” he said.

Gardner declined to identify the senators, but he said they include both Democrats and Republicans, representing states that have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes and states that are considering it.

While marijuana is illegal under federal law, eight states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing recreational consumption. Pot is legal, in some form or under some circumstances, in another 22 states.

Sessions’ directive, issued last week, overturns an Obama-era policy discouraging federal enforcement in states where marijuana is legal. The attorney general said prosecutors should use their own discretion, taking into consideration the department’s limited resources, the seriousness of the crime and the deterrent effect that they could impose.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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