Tory senators talk pot legalization with Jeff Sessions in D.C.
A marijuana flag flaps in the wind above the crowd at the annual 4-20 cannabis culture celebration at Sunset Beach in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday April 20, 2016. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA – Three Conservative senators have descended on D.C. to discuss Canada's plans to legalize marijuana and managed to snag a 45-minute meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Conservative senators Claude Carignan, Denise Batters, and Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu are in Washington, D.C. this week to hear from American counterparts about the potential impacts of marijuana becoming legal.
Among the meetings they’ve had was a discussion with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that lasted 45-minutes, according to Sen. Batters’ office. Sessions has been opposed to legalized marijuana throughout his career and according to the Associated Press, he recently issued a memo cracking down on marijuana in states where it is legal.
The senators say they also met with officials from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Customs and Border Protection's Office of Field Operations, and a group called the Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which is focused on "educating the public about the harms of marijuana legalization."
The trio are members of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is one of the committees studying Bill C-45, the federal marijuana legalization legislation as well as Bill C-46 related to drug-impaired driving. They are all strongly opposed to the federal government’s pot legislation. In a statement about the trip, Batters said they were in D.C. to "further explore and address some of the international implications with our most important trading partner."
While the senators are not yet discussing specifically what they heard in their meetings, they say they discussed border safety, the black market; and the risks of marijuana use and possession.
Batters' office told CTV News that the information gleaned from these meetings will inform potential amendments to the government's marijuana bills.
"Faced with the Liberals’ empty answers and broken record, we had to seek concrete and real facts right at the source," Sen. Boisvenu said in the statement.
Boisvenu's office said the trip was paid for under the Senate expenses policy that allows for trips to New York for UN business, as well as to D.C.to be reimbursed.
With files from CTV News' Michel Boyer