The man widely regarded as the front-runner for South Carolina’s top federal prosecutor job is a Republican state representative who gave early support to Donald Trump’s campaign in this early voting state.
But Rep. Peter McCoy — whose name frequently circulates in legal circles as a likely top contender for the job, in part because of his Trump support — has introduced comprehensive medicinal cannabis legislation here, which appears to contradict his would-be boss’ statements on drug policy. U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions has made no secret of his plans to take a hard line on drugs, reminding reporters just weeks after being sworn in that marijuana distribution remains a federal crime, regardless of what states may do to legalize it.
In the weeks since, Sessions has said he’s reviewing Obama-era policies giving states flexibility in passing marijuana laws.
That stance, in contrast with Trump’s campaign trail comments that were softer on marijuana in particular, is going to be tested as the new administration begins to place federal prosecutors throughout the country, including some in states that have taken various steps toward legalizing the drug, either for medicinal purposes or recreational use.
It’s ultimately up to Trump to nominate U.S. attorneys, with input from the state’s U.S. senators. South Carolina’s top job has been filled by Beth Drake, a career federal prosecutor, since Obama appointee Bill Nettles left the post last summer to return to private practice.
Here’s a look at McCoy, as well as some of the others whose names have been mentioned as possible contenders for the top job in South Carolina:
McCoy, 38, has both prosecutorial and political credentials for the appointed position. As a Charleston-area prosecutor, McCoy says he took on hundreds of drug cases, ultimately leaving that post to pursue private practice – and elected office. He also backed Trump in