Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke joined the list of people criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his stance on marijuana in a video released via Facebook.
In the video, posted by Now This Politics, O’Rourke calls on voters to contact their representatives and let them know that the so-called “war on drugs” isn’t working.
“After 45 years of the failed war on drugs, where we have achieved almost none of our goals, where the profits are still going to the criminals, the cartels and the kingpins…finally the people of this country, many states across the union are taking the right steps for a more rational, humane policy when it comes to drugs, especially marijuana.”
The statement comes after Sessions’ announced last Thursday federal prosecutors would be able to decide themselves whether they wanted to pursue marijuana cases in states where the drug is already legalized.
Sessions’ decision reverses an Obama-era policy, which largely left state marijuana cases alone if they didn’t involve gang violence or cartels, according to the Washington Post.
The former Tenn. Senator-appointed-head of the Department of Justice ignited responses across the board for the move with his announcement, but he defended the decision in a statement:
“Today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”
Other lawmakers don’t share this view, however, with Republicans and Democrats alike speaking out against what they see as a potentially harmful move.
Revoking the guidance at the federal level suggesting the government not enforce the federal law against marijuana in states where it is legalized is reportedly creating friction on the subject of medicinal marijuana and states’ rights.
That said, in a recent article, the Post wrote a major federal crackdown on legal weed is unlikely, citing the lack of DEA resources the government would need to round up legal weed in six states and the District of Columbia.
Instead, some experts see it as a scare tactic, something Sessions – who made his disapproval of marijuana well known in the past – is using to try and “chill progressive drug policy.”
Furthermore, as reported by the Post, Congress also cannot directly pursue people using medical marijuana in a way permitted by their state; so, as the article reads, it is unlikely the decision will affect the burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry in Texas.