Attorney General Nominee Opposes Marijuana Legalization
January 29th, 2015
Policy, Top News
U.S. Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch voiced her opposition to the legalization of cannabis on the day of her confirmation hearing, which comes in stark contrast to the Obama Administration that has been generally supportive of the efforts.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asked if she supports legalization and Lynch responded “No I do not.” When Mr. Sessions asked her about President Obama’s position on marijuana, Lynch continued, “I can tell you that not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as Attorney General.”
In the past, the U.S. Department of Justice has taken numerous steps to roll back prosecution of marijuana users. These prosecutions have become an increasing problem given that 75% of doctors would now prescribe medical marijuana to patients, while African Americans are unfairly targeted by law enforcement efforts in many areas. The majority of Americans also support legalization efforts, making Ms. Lynch’s viewpoint in the minority.
President Obama indicated in a recent YouTube interview his belief that the legalization of marijuana would likely continue between states. While the issue is too hot for federal action in the near-term, many advocates are hoping that long-term policies will change. The substance is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I Controlled Substance that’s highly addictive and has no medical use – the same as “hard” drugs like heroin.
While Ms. Lynch’s may not be as aligned as many have hoped, she could remain largely agnostic and hands-off when it comes to prosecuting such offenses.
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