This week former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticized current AG Jeff Sessions for having an “almost obsession” with marijuana that is contributing to the “strange place” the Justice Department is in.
Sessions remains to express grief over state-level legalization a continuation of his prior testimonials ridiculing both the recreational and medical use of marijuana. The Cole Memo, a policy created under the Obama administration, is currently under review by his office. The policy stated federal authorities would not be involved with state-legal marijuana laws given that the states meet specific guidelines. While not being a binding policy the Cole Memo was an important part of the federal context that contributed to the legalization of programs in states such as Colorado and Washington state.
In recent months, Sessions has been trying to make cases that certain legal states are declining to meet the required guidelines of the policy, although this accusation has not been confirmed. The attorney general has also appealed to Congress to remove protections that prevent federal prosecutors from targeting state-legal medical marijuana.
“The Sessions almost obsession with marijuana, I think, is the thing that’s put the Justice Department in this strange place,” according to Holder.
During a speaking at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Holder defended the Obama administration’s position on state-legalization of marijuana saying, “I think the policy we had in place was a good one.” Holder also added, “Let the states experiment with the notion that, again, we have these eight or nine federal factors, and if you trigger one of these eight or nine factors, the feds are going to be coming in.”
Tom Angell, activist, and writer, brought forth the idea that Holder could have taken the additional step to restructure marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Angell tweeted, “Eric Holder could’ve rescheduled marijuana while in office but didn’t”.