Sessions: I’m ‘not a fan’ of marijuana expansion

Sessions: I’m ‘not a fan’ of marijuana expansion
© Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE says he does not like the idea of recreational marijuana becoming more prevalent in the U.S.

“Most of you know I probably don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages, and particularly young people, start smoking pot,” he told reporters at the Department of Justice (DOJ) Monday, according to Politico.

“I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana. States can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it remains a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Sessions also said the potency of marijuana has risen, as has violence stemming from the drug’s distribution.

“I believe it’s an unhealthy practice and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago,” he said.

“We’re seeing real violence around that. Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”

Sessions additionally confirmed that a series of guidelines about federal enforcement and prosecution efforts regarding marijuana are under review.

The guidance, widely called the Cole memo after former Deputy Attorney General James Cole, stipulated a narrower federal role for enforcing its laws in states were marijuana sales are legal.

“Most states have some limits on it and, people are violating those limits,” Sessions said. "We’re going to look at it ... and try to adopt reasonable policies.”

The DOJ announced in 2013 it would not directly challenge state marijuana legalization laws and would tone down enforcement of federal laws against pot sales in states allowing the practice.

The so-called Cole memo said federal enforcement and prosecution efforts would instead focus on stopping drug-related violence, distribution to minors, halting gang involvement in drug sales, and blocking marijuana transportation to states where it remains illegal.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week he expects “greater enforcement” of federal laws against recreational marijuana.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while 20 others have laws allowing medical marijuana.