January 10, 2017

NCIA Statement on Sen. Sessions’ Comments Today Regarding Marijuana Policy

Washington, DCNational Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to Sen. Jeff Sessions’ comments about the federal approach to marijuana policy in today’s Attorney General confirmation hearing:

“In today’s hearing, Senator Sessions indicated that the Justice Department’s current guidelines for marijuana policy enforcement are ‘truly valuable’ in setting departmental priorities. That belief, along with the support for state sovereignty on cannabis policy expressed by President-elect Trump and his team, should lead Sen. Sessions to maintain the current federal policy of respect for state-legal, regulated cannabis programs if he is confirmed as Attorney General.

“Sen. Sessions also highlighted the conflict created by a Congress that has failed to reflect the will of the voters on cannabis policy. Voters in 28 states, representing approximately 60% of the nation’s population, have now chosen some form of legal, regulated cannabis program. National polling shows that 60% of Americans believe cannabis should be legalized. It’s time for federal lawmakers to represent the clear choices of their constituents.

“The current federal policy, as outlined by the Cole Memo, has respected carefully designed state regulatory programs while maintaining the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing criminals and prosecuting bad actors. In return, the responsible cannabis industry has helped countless critically ill patients, contributed billions of dollars to the economy and to tax coffers, taken marijuana out of the criminal market and put it behind a regulated counter, and dealt a significant blow to international cartels and traffickers.”


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