Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week that he wants to enforce federal marijuana laws in an “appropriate way” nationwide and is weighing options such as initiating Supremacy Clause and RICO prosecutions.
Sessions’ latest remarks on marijuana legalization and enforcement came during a radio interview Thursday with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
Hewitt broached the topic of marijuana by asking Sessions whether he would apply the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to “end this facade and the flaunting of the Supremacy Clause.”
Sessions responded in the affirmative and reiterated previous remarks about his beliefs about marijuana legalization as well as potential restraints to enforcement, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Hewitt’s website:
“We will, marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws,” Sessions said. “So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide. It’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it.
“And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize. I don’t think we’re going to be a better community if marijuana is sold in every corner grocery store.”
Asked about whether he could send a message by bringing a RICO case against one retailer, Sessions said the Justice Department is analyzing its options.
“Well, we’ll be evaluating how we want to handle that,” he said. “I think it’s a little more complicated than one RICO case, I’ve got to tell you. This, places like Colorado, it’s just sprung up a lot of different independent entities that are moving marijuana. And it’s also being moved interstate, not just in the home state. … And neighbors (Oklahoma and Nebraska) are complaining, and filed lawsuits against them. So it’s a serious matter, in my opinion.”
To read Sessions’ full interview with Hewitt, visit HughHewitt.com.
Marijuana in the age of Trump: A Cannabist special report
Click here for a deep dive into topics including potential federal enforcement actions, the implementation of the Supremacy Clause and how the cannabis industry is changing its approach with the Trump administration.