Sessions' exit celebrated by pot proponents

Sessions' exit celebrated by pot proponents

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By Dennis Romero

Marijuana proponents celebrated on Wednesday after the ouster of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose tenure as the nation’s top law enforcer included stern policies on narcotics enforcement and sentencing.

“He’s been an absolute disgrace on drug policy,” said Michael Collins, interim director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, would serve as acting attorney general. Whitaker isn’t well known to the drug reform movement.

“We would welcome any attorney general whose policy ideas would move beyond the 1980s,” Collins said.

Image: FILE: Jeff Sessions Resigns as U.S. Attorney General
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens during a news conference at the Justice Department on Nov. 29, 2017 in Washington.Alex Wong / Getty Images

Sessions was reviled in the marijuana industry and drug reform movements for his move in January to rescind an Obama-era policy mandating a mostly hands-off stance for federal enforcement of U.S. cannabis law in states that have legalized the drug.

The former senator also hit the brakes on sentencing reform policy. Sessions directed his federal prosecutors to seek maximum sentences for even low-level drug offenses.

The lawman’s policies came at a time when drug reform groups had gained momentum, with some states legalizing marijuana, others recognizing medical pot, and still more reducing sentences for small-time drug crimes.

On Tuesday, Michigan became the tenth state to have legalized recreational cannabis. Another 32 have approved medical marijuana.

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