Article by Mark Stefanos, Los Angeles Times
Election Day 2016 awarded mixed fortunes for proponents of marijuana legalization. Pot measures passed in eight states, including California, bringing the number of states with access to some form of legal marijuana to 28. But the glee subsided as it became clear Donald Trump would be president, and fear set in that the progress gained for legalization during President Obama’s eight years would be rolled back.
These fears quickly mounted when Trump tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general, an outspoken drug reform opponent who, in the 1980s, famously joked about the Ku Klux Klan — “I thought those guys were OK until I learned they smoked pot.” During his confirmation hearings, Sessions didn’t rule out reinstating federal enforcement on the national marijuana ban, departing from the Obama administration’s position of staying out of states’ business.
Trump doesn’t seem to have a problem differing with his cabinet appointees on a variety of issues, and marijuana may be no different. It’s understood he nominated Sessions because they share a tough immigration stance, not necessarily Sessions’ views on drugs. Trump himself has been all over the board on pot, expressing support for medical marijuana but also concerns about Colorado, where it’s recreationally legal. He generally seems to favor leaving it up to the states to decide.