Both U.S. Sen. Angus King and the Republican who hopes to take King’s place in Congress are unhappy with a decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to crack down on state efforts to make marijuana legal.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, an Auburn Republican, called the move “a clear unconstitutional overreach by the federal government.”

King, an independent seeking a second term in the November election, also “believes that this decision should be left up to the states,” a spokesman for his office said.

King thinks Sessions should revisit the policy “and give each state the ability to implement policy that reflects the wishes of its citizens,” spokesman John Faherty said.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, is wary of recreational marijuana, but sees value in its medicinal use for some.

Brakey laid out his position in a column published Monday by CNBC.

“Our founders would reject in the boldest terms Mr. Sessions’ unconstitutional agenda,” Brakey wrote. “We the people should as well.”

“We should be giving decision-making power back to the states and back to the people,” Brakey said. “The United States was not created to give power to a bloated, bureaucratic federal government that has supreme power over states and individuals. America deserves better.”

Sessions announced last week he would rescind a directive from President Barack Obama’s administration that basically took a hands-off approach to marijuana legalization by the states.

Sessions’ new policy gives discretion to federal prosecutors in each state to decide what, if anything, they should do. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Collins “recognizes the medical value of marijuana” in some cases, “such as in helping to control seizures in some children and in providing pain relief for some individuals with chronic conditions,” said her spokesman, Christopher Knight.

“Consequently, she repeatedly has supported amendments to prevent the Department of Justice from interfering with medical marijuana laws adopted by states,” he said, amendments that have the force of law as part of the department’s annual budget.

Recreational marijuana use, though, is different for Collins.

Knight said she sees “considerable scientific and medical evidence of the detrimental impact that marijuana can have on the brain development of otherwise healthy teenagers.”

He said Congress and the administration “should review the Controlled Substances Act, which generally prohibits growing, distributing, or using marijuana, in light of current medical evidence as well as actions taken by states.”

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Brakey, left, and U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, both believe the federal government should allow states to determine the laws for marijuana use.


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