U.S. attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch answered a barrage of questions during her daylong Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday in Washington, including the touchy topics of immigration, drug enforcement and policies enacted by current Attorney General Eric Holder.
The above video includes queries from Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., about federal marijuana policy and states that have legalized pot for adult use, to which Lynch said:
“Marijuana is still a criminal substance under federal law. And it is still a crime not only to possess, but to distribute under federal law.”
“With respect to the marijuana enforcement laws, it is still the policy of the administration and certainly would be my policy, if confirmed as attorney general, to continue enforcing the marijuana laws, particularly with respect to the money-laundering aspect of it.”
Graham also asked if Lynch thought the 2013 Cole Memo issued by the Department of Justice offering guidance to federal prosecutors regarding marijuana cases was good policy, to which Lynch said:
“I believe that the deputy attorney general’s policy seeks to try and work with state systems that have chosen to take admittedly a different approach from the federal government with respect to marijuana, and determine the most effective way to still pursue marijuana cases consistent with the states and the choices that they have made.”
In later questioning by Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Lynch said in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that she does not personally support marijuana legalization.
Sessions also asked Lynch to comment on a remark made by President Barack Obama in an interview with the New Yorker that marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol.
“Well, Senator, I certainly don’t hold that view and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance,” Lynch said. “I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion, neither of which I’m able to share.”