Sessions asked Congress to let him override state laws allowing medical marijuana

DENVER -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked lawmakers to help him go after medical marijuana, in a letter to congressional leaders that has been made public.

The letter Sessions wrote to congressional leaders in May was obtained by MassRoots.com and published Monday.

Currently, there are protections in place prohibiting federal prosecutors from using taxpayer dollars to prevent the sale of medical marijuana. Sessions is asking Congress to take away those protections.

Adam Davis of Lucy Sky, a medical and recreational shop in Denver, said any pushback on medical marijuana doesn’t make sense. He knows plenty of people struggling with pain.

“People struggle with any number of things,” said Davis. “Sleep disorders, eating disorders -- anything from our veterans coming back with PTSD every day.”

In a letter to congressional leaders, Sessions warned the current protection for states that have legalized medical marijuana inhibits his authority to enforce controlled substance laws.

Marijuana advocates have called Sessions' rhetoric a scare tactic.

In the letter, Sessions said he was opposed to any legislation that would “prohibit the use of Department of Justice funds or in any way inhibit its authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.”

Sessions referred to a resolution that restricts the department from using funds to prevent states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.

“The most recent continuing resolution contained a rider that restricts the Department from using appropriated funds to prevent certain states ‘from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana,’ even though marijuana remains unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act," Sessions stated.

Sessions argued that drug traffickers are cultivating and distributing marijuana "under the guise of state medical marijuana laws," and pointed to a case in Colorado as an example.

“For example, just in this past month in Colorado, state authorities allege that an individual who held an active Colorado license for operating a medical marijuana business was the ringleader of a criminal organization that also shipped marijuana out of state," Sessions wrote.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime."

Sessions also stated that smoking marijuana has "significant negative health effects," including "an increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as psychosis, respiratory ailments such as lung infections, cognitive impairments such as IQ loss, and substance use disorder and addiction.”