Periods Says He Is Sticking With His Predecessors’ Tolerance of State-Authorized Marijuana

House Judiciary CommitteeHome Judiciary CommitteeTestifying earlier than the Home Judiciary Committee at present, Legal professional Normal Jeff Periods confirmed that he’s not abandoning his predecessors’ coverage of prosecutorial forbearance concerning state-licensed marijuana companies. “Our coverage is identical, actually, basically, because the Holder-Lynch coverage, which is that the federal regulation stays in impact and a state can legalize marijuana for its regulation enforcement functions, nevertheless it nonetheless stays unlawful with regard to federal functions,” Periods stated in response to a query from Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).

Periods left unsaid one other key facet of that coverage, which was outlined in a 2013 memo from Deputy Legal professional Normal James Cole. Cole inspired federal prosecutors to go away state-legal cannabusinesses alone until they impinge on “federal regulation enforcement priorities” reminiscent of stopping underage consumption, interstate smuggling, and drugged driving or different “antagonistic public well being penalties.” Whereas the Cole memo leaves a whole lot of leeway for an lawyer basic who needs to take a more durable line on marijuana, Periods thus far has not taken benefit of it, and he gave no indication at present that he plans to take action, however his personal sturdy anti-pot prejudices.

Talking of which, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) famous that Periods had “stated at one time that ‘good folks do not smoke marijuana.'” Cohen listed a bunch of outstanding Republicans who’re identified to have smoked marijuana, together with John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Clarence Thomas. “Which of these aren’t good folks?” Cohen requested.

In response, Periods stated his statement that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” which he made during a Senate hearing last year, should not be interpreted to mean that good people don’t smoke marijuana. He said he only meant that it is salutary for the youth of America to believe that good people don’t smoke marijuana, even if it is not true, because that belief will discourage them from messing with the devil’s weed. “The question was, what do you about drug use, the epidemic we’re seeing in the country,” he said. “Part of that is a cultural thing. I explained how, when I became United States attorney in 1981, and the drugs were being used widely, over a period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular, and people were seen, and it was seen as such, that good people didn’t use marijuana. That was the context of that statement.”

Cohen also got Sessions to concede that “marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin” and that he is bound to obey a spending rider approved by Congress that bars the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws, which federal courts have interpreted to mean that people cannot be prosecuted for actions that comply with those laws. This year Sessions urged legislators not to renew that rider.

Jacob Sullum

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