Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a “cataclysmic mistake” by rescinding Obama-era federal marijuana policies, according to Roger Stone, President Trump’s former campaign adviser.
Mr. Stone, the president’s campaign adviser through August 2015, criticized the attorney general’s recent decision to roll back marijuana protections during a luncheon Friday at the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported afterwards.
“Jeff Sessions is making a cataclysmic mistake,” Mr. Stone told attendees, according to the newspaper. “My question is, has he chimed in with his boss? Trump said he supports state’s rights when it comes to the legalization of marijuana.”
The Department of Justice has outlawed marijuana for decades, but the Obama administration put in place policies that allowed dozens of states to legalize the plant without prompting federal interference. Mr. Sessions nullified those policies on Thursday, however, casting uncertainty over the future of existing medical and recreational marijuana programs already in place across the country.
Mr. Sessions has been adamantly opposed to legal weed since well before the Trump administration took hold, while the president, on his part, expressed a comparably softer stance while running for office.
“I think in terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Mr. Trump said during a 2015 campaign rally.
“Medical marijuana … I’m in favor of it a hundred percent,” Mr. Trump said during a Fox News appearance the following year.
The White House defended the policy change Thursday and said that the president’s top priority is enforcing federal law regardless of the topic.
“The president’s position hasn’t changed but he does strongly believe that we have to enforce federal law,” White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee-Sanders told reporters.
Mr. Stone, 65, formed a bipartisan, pro-marijuana lobbying group earlier this year, the United States Cannabis Coalition, “dedicated to influencing federal level decision makers, including the president, so they honor state’s rights and state mandated marijuana laws as well as reform our antiquated and failed federal drug laws,” according to its website.