Reason Podcast

Jeff Sessions Can't Stop Pot Legalization: Podcast

The attorney general's new memo on marijuana is disturbing on many levels, but it will ultimately be effective on none.


Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed a 2013 Justice Department policy that worked to keep federal law enforcement from going after recreational and medical marijuana users and producers in states that have legalized pot.

That's just stupid policy from any number of perspectives: A growing majority of Americans believe pot should be treated like wine and alcohol. States that have legalized have witnessed no negative social effects and teen pot use is even declining. President Trump campaigned on the promise that marijuana policy should be decided at the state level, a position fully consistent with federalism Sessions himself pretends to espouse. California and Nevada just started selling legal weed and Massachusetts is set to follow suit later in 2018. It's clear the war on pot is over and the prohibitionists have lost.

But if Sessions can't really stop legalization, says Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum, he can slow it down and make it more painful and disruptive than it needs to be. In a fun, freewheeling conversation about pot, politics, and posturing, Sullum, the author of the groundbreaking Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, talks with Nick Gillespie about what red state (besides Alaska) will be the first to legalize pot, what should happen to people behind bars for crimes that are no longer crimes, and how cannabis culture will change in an America where people are fully free to smoke dope.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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