DENVER — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the federal government will still enforce the law despite the new pot bill introduced by a bipartisan group of senators. Sessions made the comments during an interview with Colorado Matters prior to a speech he was giving at the Western Conservative Summit scheduled for June 8.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced June 7 by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.). The pot bill named The STATES Act would protect states with legal marijuana from federal interference and amend the Controlled Substances Act.
Trump told reporters he would probably support The STATES Act.
"I really do, I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he's doing. We're looking at it, but I probably will end up supporting that, yes," said the President.
Sessions told reporter Ryan Warner he had no intention in altering current policy regarding federal law, adding that he had not been ordered to do so by the President.
"We were not ordered to do anything other than the policies that we intend to carry out nationally,” he said.
The STATES Act was a response to Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo, an Obama Administration policy which protected legal marijuana states from charges by federal prosecutors. Sessions revoked the policy in January, prompting Gardner to block Justice Department nominees in protest.
Sessions said the federal government "cannot guarantee persons who use or distribute marijuana are protected from federal prosecution," adding that to do so would be a violation of federal law.
"The Ketchup's Not Going Back into the Bottle"
Gardner told reporters at a press conference he had spoken with Trump on several occasions and was told Trump would support the legislation, adding that he spoke to the President the same day the pot bill was introduced.
Gardner also said the President had agreed they could not go backward regarding marijuana legalization and needed to move forward.
"The ketchup's not going back into the bottle," Gardner noted.
Sessions said that whether we legalize marijuana or not, marijuana is not healthy. The attorney general maintains that although marijuana has some health benefits, he still insists it is a gateway drug, and kids shouldn't be smoking it every day after school.
Upon being asked if he thought marijuana could fight opioid addiction, Sessions claimed there is no scientific evidence to suggest that marijuana could offset opioid addiction. However, studies found marijuana could help to end opioid addiction and serve as an exit drug from addiction. Studies also show that marijuana can prevent opioid relapses.
Sessions said he intends to enforce current statutes until an act from Congress prevents him from doing so.