BOSTON (CBS) – It may have been overlooked in the flood of Russia collusion questions, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions said something of great interest to us here in Massachusetts during his appearance Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.
He was asked about federal policy toward marijuana legalization, something Sessions had previously vowed to crack down on by reversing the Obama-era policy of looking the other way. But now it appears President Trump’s laissez-faire attitude on this issue has trickled down to his A.G.
“Our policy is really the same fundamentally as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law-enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes,” Sessions said.
Translation: the feds won’t be interfering once recreational pot sales become legal here next summer. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still major legal issues facing us.
For instance, what to do about stoned driving offenders? A top local law enforcement official told me recently that they’re very worried about a surge in DUI cases and their ability to prosecute them. There is no legal field sobriety test for pot, and the state Supreme Court recently ruled that the tests for alcohol intoxication can’t be applied.
We’ve come a long way in Massachusetts since public outrage over drunken driving peaked in the early 1980s. The number of alcohol-related deaths on the road has dropped by fifty percent since then. Will legal marijuana put us at risk of reversing that trend?
Stay tuned. And, if you’re driving, stay sober.