Fears of Rudolph Giuliani or Chris Christie becoming the nation's next Attorney General have been replaced by the specter of ultra-conservative Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to head the Justice Department by President-elect Trump.
Sessions has said, "Good people don't smoke marijuana," called cannabis "dangerous" and, most controversially, commented the Ku Klux Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot."
The former Attorney General of Alabama was nominated for a federal judge position in 1986. During the hearings, Sessions said he had made the Klan comment while investigating the 1981 murder of a black man by two Klansmen in Mobile. "[It] was a silly comment, I guess you might say, that I made," he told the committee. Sessions referred to it as a joke, "that he thought it was 'bizarre' that Klansmen had smoke marijuana after one of their meetings." Sessions' nomination was rejected.
NORML, who gave Sessions an F in its Senate Scorecard, has sounded the alarm, emailing a warning call to its members:
"Senator Sessions is clearly off the reservation… This could foreshadow some very bad things for the eight states that have legalized marijuana for adult use and the more than half the country that has operating medical marijuana programs. With the authority the position of Attorney General provides, Sessions could immediately get to work attempting to block the implementation of the recent ballot initiatives, start dismantling a legal industry in Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska, and begin conducting massive raids on existing medical and recreational retail stores."
DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann issued the following statement:
"Jeff Sessions is a drug war dinosaur, which is 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. And not just Democrats, but many Republican as well who favor rolling back the War on Drugs had better resist this nomination."
Sessions will need to be approved by the Senate, where he has served for the past 20 years.