WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general is an outspoken foe of efforts to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes — and that has some wondering what it means for the 28 states that have legalized marijuana in some form.
Those states include Ohio, which is in the process of working on regulations for its own medical marijuana legalization. Aaron Marshall, a spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, said his hope remains with Trump, who has repeatedly said he supports leaving marijuana legalization efforts to the states.
“We’re hopeful he’ll follow the promises of President-elect Trump and leave it up to the states,” Marshall said.
But Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican whom Trump has tapped to head the Justice Department, said as recently as April that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” calling the drug “not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”
He has referred to marijuana reform as a mistake and has been consistently critical of the Obama administration for refusing to enforce a federal prohibition on marijuana.
Tom Haren, a Cleveland-based lawyer who works on marijuana issues, calls Sessions “one of the most ardent prohibitionists, one of the most ardent drug warriors in the Senate.” He sees a conflict between Sessions’ words on the issue and Trump’s.
“Trump is kind of a wild card himself on any number of issues,” Haren said. “But he’s been pretty consistent when it comes to medical marijuana that he supports it.”
As a candidate for president, Trump in June 2015 seemed supportive of medical marijuana, but he called recreational adult use “bad” at a conservative CPAC conference. He expressed dismay at Colorado’s recreational legalization, saying it has led to “some big problems.”
“But I think medical marijuana, 100 percent,” he said.
Haren said he sees a variety