January 04, 2018

Rep. Ruben Gallego Statement on Changes to DOJ Marijuana Enforcement Policies

WASHINGTON, DC ­– Rep. Ruben Gallego issued the following statement in response to reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind a policy that eased enforcement of federal marijuana laws as a growing number of states passed laws permitting regulated sale and use:

"I support full legalization of marijuana. As a member of the Arizona legislature, I introduced a bill that would have legalized marijuana possession and regulated and taxed marijuana in our state in a manner similar to alcohol. I wholly support these types of measures.

"Marijuana is less harmful than other regulated products, including alcohol, when used properly by adults. I believe that its regulation makes it even safer, and allows states to economically benefit through reasonable taxation – shifting production and sale of marijuana away from drug cartels and criminals and into the hands of taxpaying businesses that are subject to strict regulations.

"But this decision is also about so much more.

"Jeff Sessions' irresponsible decision is not only an infringement on states' rights, but it is bad policy that will disproportionately hurt Latino and black youth and the economically disadvantaged, who already face higher rates of prosecution and conviction for minor offenses.

"The Trump-Sessions Justice Department has weakened civil rights enforcement, increased mandatory minimum sentences, walked back monitoring of law enforcement agencies charged with civil rights abuses, and is now looking to ramp up prosecution of legalized marijuana.

"Jeff Sessions is a man whose entire career has been defined by his hostility towards civil rights and racial justice, and his tenure as the nation's top law enforcement official has enabled him to continue this dangerous assault on our democracy.

"The American people deserve a Justice Department that will fight to protect the civil rights of all people instead of promoting bad policy motivated by racial animus."