Fear of weed crackdown unfounded, says old white guy in charge of things

Fear of weed crackdown unfounded, says old white guy in charge of things

VicesMay 01, 2017 By Brian Frederick

For better or worse, Jeff Session is the U.S. Attorney General. He's a hard-assed know-it-all with an exceptionally large hard-on for the law. Because of it, cannabis advocates were right to fear what could happen to the $7 billion industry if he got his way for the next four years.

But the country is now months into a Trump administration and Sessions hasn't so much as blinked in weed's general direction. Aside from a few comments here and there when asked, he's stayed relatively mute on the whole thing. After a recent meeting with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, it's even more clear Sessions and the feds will probably just stay away from this can of worms altogether.

"We approached Attorney General Sessions with the notion that if we are going to make changes, we should do it together and kind of collaborate on this," said Hickenlooper to Chuck Todd in a recent Meet The Press interview. "He was very direct, he didn't beat around the bush. He feels strongly that more people smoking more marijuana — or doing any kind of drugs — is unhealthy for the country and wants to make sure that's a constant refrain when he talks that he's very concerned about a tendency towards more drug consumption."

"He didn’t give me any reason to think that he is going to come down and suddenly try to put everyone out of business ... ”

Colorado's governor was quick to point out, however, that the state hasn't seen a spike in use among adults or teens — an oft-used position of anti-weed sentiment. As it stands, the social experiment seems to be working in all states with medical and recreational sales. 

Which puts Sessions in a strange limbo. On the one hand, he's very clear about his archaic views on drugs in general — that he'd rather them be all gone and people punished severely for use. On the other, he's representing a nation that now supports marijuana by a vast majority, with states reaping benefits to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue from an industry poised for a $20 billion haul in the next few years. 

For now, he's sitting quiet and watching the whole thing unfold. When asked about enforcement of federal drug laws, Sessions even told a reporter recently, "Well, you haven't seen us cracking down, have you?" 

"He is anti-drugs in all forms and he’s not going to, in any way, encourage anyone to start a marijuana business," Hickenlooper added. "That being said, he didn’t give me any reason to think that he is going to come down and suddenly try to put everyone out of business.”