Attorney General nominee: ‘Good people don't smoke marijuana'

by: KIRO 7 Staff and The Associated Press Updated:

United States Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions is against legal marijuana and once said “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

What does that mean for Washington State, where voters legalized marijuana?

Hashtag Cannabis presents a colorful face to Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. And the owner worries about Sessions' hostility to legal marijuana.

“So I was a little disheartened by his comments disparaging people who have consumed cannabis in the past,” said owner Logan Bowers.

Washington voters legalized marijuana in November of 2012, but selling it still remains a crime under federal law.

The US Attorney General's office promised to take a hands-off attitude, as long Washington State kept it away from children -- and kept locally grown marijuana from crossing state lines.

But if Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) becomes attorney general, he could return to the days of federal marijuana enforcement.

“Now we have a different federal law enforcement apparatus that is entering government as of January 21 next year and they have the discretion to enforce or not enforce federal law,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.

But Holmes has some hope.

“I would like to think that the Trump Administration would honor some of the things that were said on the campaign trail like that it should be left up to the states.”

And at Hashtag Cannabis, they want to keep serving their customers.

“I'm definitely concerned. I think we have to keep our eye on it,” said Bowers

Logan Bowers says one of his biggest worries is that threats of a federal crackdown will scare the banks away and lead to diminished access to marijuana by limiting choices for customers.

About Sessions

The Senate confirmation hearing of Sen. Sessions is also likely to rehash racially charged allegations that derailed his efforts to become a federal judge and made him a symbol of black-voter intimidation under the Reagan administration.

The expected focus on Sessions' record on race, policing and immigration comes as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has surged in prominence under the Obama administration. If confirmed, Sessions would have broad latitude to define how federal prosecutors across the country wield their powers and make changes to the Justice Department's priorities.

Lawmakers and advocates expressed concern Friday that Sessions could sideline or undo the Obama administration's civil rights efforts, which have included investigations of police departments for unconstitutional practices and lawsuits meant to protect the rights of transgender individuals and black voters.

"Given some of his past statements and his staunch opposition to immigration reform, I am very concerned about what he would do with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and want to hear what he has to say," incoming Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said he strongly supported Sessions, who he said "has worked tirelessly to safeguard the public and to improve the lives of Americans from all walks of life."

Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker, Chad Day, Eileen Sullivan and Kim Chandler contributed to this report

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