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WIRE: Senators advance Jeff Sessions nomination for U.S. Attorney General

Washington, DC — Members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 9 on Wednesday in favor appointing Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to the position of US Attorney General.

All eleven Republican members of the Committee voted to confirm Sen. Sessions, while all nine Democrat members voted against his nomination.

During his tenure in Congress, Sen. Sessions has been an ardent and vocal critic of changes in statewide marijuana policies. He previously stated, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and endorsed legislation to execute marijuana traffickers.

During testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Sen. Sessions said that it is not the responsibility of the Attorney General to pick and choose which federal laws to enforce. “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act,” he said. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

Commenting on the vote, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: “On a range of issues, Sen. Sessions represents a return to a bygone era of state repression against individuals’ rights. For marijuana in particular, in a day and age of legal dispensaries, it is troubling to see that a man who once called for the execution of marijuana distributors is now in line to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer. It is imperative that Congress acts swiftly to keep existing legislation in place protecting these state-licensed entities from federal interference.”

Senator Sessions’ nomination now goes before the full Senate, where Republicans hold a 52-seat majority.

For more information, please contact Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director, or Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

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