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By Steve Birr

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed shock at the swift public backlash to his fiery rhetoric on federal marijuana policy and his opposition to legalization.

Speaking on a range of issues at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona Tuesday, Sessions addressed his opposition to further easement of marijuana laws in states across the country. He also expressed confusion over the amount of attention his comments on marijuana during his confirmation hearing received, reports AZ Central.

Sessions, a stanch opponent of legalization, is currently reviewing the Cole Memorandum, a set of guidelines established in 2013 that direct DOJ to focus marijuana enforcement efforts on violent crimes and distribution in states without legalization laws.

“When they nominated me for attorney general, you would have thought the biggest issue in America was when I said, ‘I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if they sell marijuana at every corner grocery store,’” Sessions said Tuesday, according to AZ Central. “(People) didn’t like that; I’m surprised they didn’t like that.”

Sessions also touched on the illegal immigration and border protection Tuesday, reiterating his belief that a wall and bolstered enforcement will greatly cut down on the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.

Sessions claimed in February “there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think, and there’s big money involved.” It is unclear how aggressive the administration will ultimately be on the issue, but officials in states with legalization laws are preparing for the worst.

The governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana, sent a letter to Sessions and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin April 3, imploring them to leave marijuana policy to the states.

The governors say they previously opposed legal weed but argue the policy is boosting revenue and helping reduce the “inequitable incarceration” of minority groups.

Sessions and the Trump administration could cost the marijuana industry hundreds of thousands of jobs if they interfere with state pot laws. A report released in February by New Frontier Data projects that an unimpeded marijuana market will create more than 250,000 jobs by 2020. The booming projections for growth stand in stark contrast to manufacturing jobs, which are expected to crater by more than 800,000 by 2024.

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  • MrClean961

    Sessions claimed in February “there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think, and there’s big money involved.”

    Well duh! This is an inevitable side effect of Prohibition. Where there is a demand, there will be a supplier. And just as in alcohol prohibition, organized crime steps in to capitalize. So, by making marijuana illegal, you are creating the violence, which you then turn around and use as an excuse for the prohibition. Such circular reasoning as an excuse to tread on my liberty is stupid and inexcusable.

    • jambalaya

      If you look back not to far in history. John F Kennedy’s father was labeled the same way for bootlegging alcohol. Humans take big risks for big money, take away the ability to profit from something and you take away any reason to take a risk. Its worked for countless other things including health insurance. If the government legalizes it and subsidies it. The black market shrinks who woulda thought. Sessions is just in it to please his buddies in big tobacco and pharmaceuticals

      • Jackie Thomas

        Don’t forget the private prisons. Many others profit from illegal status: police forces, judges, on and on. Oh, and the $ launderers. Can’t leave them out.

    • Michael

      Big violence was around alcohol when it was prohibited. Prohibition created all the Al Capones of that time and they all vanished when alcohol prohibition ended. The same will happen with the cartels when cannabis prohibition ends.

  • mattwm

    If Trump wants to keep his support, he best stop his attacks on cannabis.

    • MatFan

      Sure, drug addicts (including alcohol) are an important part of a thinking society.

  • nodomino

    Of course there is big money in marijuana. Because there is a market for it and the pharmaceutical industry pays BIG MONEY to elected representatives at every level of government and law enforcement to maintain its prohibition on it. Within the last few years, the private prison industry has come to see marijuana as a good source to produce ‘criminals’ to fill their prisons and also supports the repeal of prohibitions.
    There are negative results from long term, excessive use of marijuana. There is no reason to doubt this. However, there is little to suggest that marijuana use could ever become the hazzard to public health and safety that alcohol is. Nor does alcohol produce a by-product as useful and profitable as hemp. Not to be undervalued as well is the fact that marijuana is the bread & butter of the drug cartel industry which the War Against has spawned enormous social cost and further militarization of our society.
    Prohibition has been another catastrophe. Let us construct a regulatory structure that is realistic, non-violent and dump the destructive ideologies that have been constructed by the profiteers of the current debacle.

    • Jackie Thomas

      I don’t think that the negative effects are gonna affect anyone, legal or not. Look at cigs!

  • thinkingforyourself

    surprised? You’d have to be stupid to be surprised. We didnt elect the republicans, we elected President Trump, and its because we are tired of these people telling us what we can and cant do in areas that are absolutely none of their concern that we elected him. We can elect another outsider next time if necessary. Get your nose outa our ass government. We handle most of this stuff just fine by ourselves.

  • Pingback: Sessions Is 'Surprised' At Public Backlash To His Marijuana Rhetoric | HxCoding | Medical & Recreational Marijuana Websites()

  • BT

    Follow the money. There is a lot more money for the feds, trials, prison, the war on drugs, CIA drug and weapons black bag ops. Plus all the money funneled to the states, local police, etc.

    We are talking about a weed that grow all over, a drug proven to be safer than alchol and most presciption drugs. There is no victim from its consumption, only it’s prohibition.

    The only way it will change is when enough people make it clear to the politicians that we are over it.

    These politicians are not stupid people, they do understand money and power. The know the facts, but it is easier to keep on oppressing.

    This is a good argument to limit centralized planners.

  • Daniel Steven Banning

    The only violence caused by marijuana are the current laws which allow law enforcement to kick in your doors and take away all you own for a joint. That is the only violence. And big money? Oh wait, yea . Law enforcement profits off of pot arrests while the non violent victim. That’s right. Victim of poor laws suffers life changing events . All over a plant that has grown naturally since earth was created. It’s all lies to line the pockets of those that make this plant illegal. And big pharmaceuticals has their hand in the nonsense to keep it illegal. Educate yourself Mr.Sessions before you make a terrible decision.

  • person of liberty

    Let’s hope that the backlash is sufficient to get Sessions to drop his idiotic attempt to bring back the “goold old days” of pot prohibition.

  • MatFan

    Potheads are only motivated by pot issues. It’s pathetic.