Former US Attorney General Eric Holder took aim at current AG Jeff Sessions this week, saying Sessions has an “almost obsession” with cannabis that has put the Justice Department in a “strange place.”
Holder, who also defended the Obama administration’s stance on state-legal cannabis as “really good policy,” was speaking at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Tuesday.
“I think the policy we had in place was a good one.”
Eric Holder, Obama-era AG
Since taking office, Sessions has repeatedly lamented state-level legalization, continuing a stream of earlier statements deriding both recreational and medical use of cannabis. His office is currently reviewing the so-called Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy under which federal authorities said they wouldn’t interfere with state-legal cannabis laws provided states met certain guidelines, such as prohibiting underage sales and diversion to the illegal market.
While the Cole Memo was never binding policy—and although Holder himself signed off on a statewide crackdown on cannabis businesses in California during his time in office—it was a key piece of the federal framework that allowed state-legal programs, such as those in Colorado and Washington state, to move forward.
Sessions Task Force Will Review DOJ Cannabis Enforcement
“I think the policy we had in place was a good one,” Holder said, according to Washington Examiner reporter Steven Nelson. “Let the states experiment with the notion that, again, we have these eight or nine federal factors, and if you trigger one of these eight or nine factors, the feds are going to be coming in.”
Hi, Eric Holder could have rescheduled marijuana while in office but didn’t. https://t.co/YOCWjpk71X
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) October 10, 2017
Sessions in recent months has sought to make a case that legal states are