The Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project have responded to President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, for U.S. attorney general.
When the Trump transition team announced the attorney general nominee on Nov. 18, 2016, Sessions was quickly flagged as a controversial choice for the job, especially due to some of his comments related to race and drugs. He infamously combined both topics when he once said, according to 1986 Congressional testimony, he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was O.K. until I found out they smoked pot.”
Whether that was a sincerely held belief or a bad joke, drug-policy groups do not think the choice of Sessions for attorney general is a laughing matter.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said Sessions is a “drug war dinosaur” and “the last thing the nation needs now.”
“Those who counted on Donald Trump’s reassurance that marijuana reforms ‘should be a state issue’ will be sorely disappointed,” Nadelmann said in a Nov. 18, 2016, press release. “And not just Democrats but the many Republicans as well who favor rolling back the war on drugs had better resist this nomination.”
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, pointed to Trump’s repeated statements that he respects the right of states to establish their own marijuana policies.
“We would expect appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president to stick to the president’s position on this subject,” Tvert said in a Nov. 18, 2016, statement. “It would certainly be controversial if Sen. Sessions completely defied the president who appointed him.
“The vast majority of Americans agree with President-elect Trump’s position that marijuana policy should largely be left to the states,” he said.