Sessions on Enforcing Federal Marijuana Laws
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Sessions on Enforcing Federal Marijuana Laws
Posted by CN Staff on January 10, 2017 at 16:09:29 PT
By Christopher Ingraham
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- In his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Trump's nominee for attorney general, declined to say whether he'd adhere to the more lenient marijuana enforcement guidelines adopted by the Obama administration's Justice Department in states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana use."Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state laws, even though it might violate federal laws?" Senator Patrick Leahy (D.-Vermont) asked.
"I won't commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy," Sessions replied. "I think some of [the Obama-era guidelines] are truly valuable in evaluating cases," he added. "Using good judgment about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine. I know it won't be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way."Under Obama, the Department of Justice largely adopted a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement in states that legalized the drug for medical or recreational use, provided that certain criteria -- like keeping the drug out of the hands of children -- were met under state laws. That policy was outlined in a Justice Department document that came to be known as the Cole Memo, for former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who drafted the memo.Drug policy experts have said that this tacit green light from the Obama administration was instrumental in Colorado and Washington's decisions to fully follow through on recreational marijuana laws passed by voters in 2012. In November 2016, four more states including California voted to make the recreational use of marijuana legal, bringing the total to eight states plus the District. Medicinal marijuana has been legalized in 28 states.In prior public statements, Sessions was harshly critical of the Justice Department 's approach on the issue. In an April 2016 Senate drug hearing, Sessions said, "I think one of [Obama's] great failures, it's obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana. It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started 'Just Say No.'"Sessions also said at the time that "the Department of Justice needs to be clearer" on marijuana legalization and enforcement.Sessions didn't appear to commit to providing such clarity today. He neither voiced support for the Obama-era rules, nor signaled that he was eager to throw them away altogether. Marijuana legalization advocate Tom Angell called it a "good sign that Sen. Sessions seemed open to keeping the Obama guidelines, if maybe with a little stricter enforcement of their restrictions.""It is notable that Sen. Sessions chose not to commit to vigorously enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have reformed their marijuana laws," said Robert Capecchi of the Marijuana Policy Project in a statement. "He was given the opportunity to take an extreme prohibitionist approach and he passed on it."Marijuana industry leaders voiced similar notes of cautious optimism. "Though it is possible that a slightly more restrictive 'Sessions Memo' will replace the existing Cole Memo," said Frank Lane, Vice President of financial services company CannabisFN, "we do not believe an AG Sessions will disrupt the long-term growth prospects of the U.S. cannabis industry."Later in the hearing, Sessions noted that "the U.S. Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state, and distribution of it, an illegal act. So if that's not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule."Those words echo remarks by President Obama, who has repeatedly rebuffed calls to reschedule marijuana by saying that it is properly Congress' job to change the nation's drug laws.President-elect Trump has himself given mixed signals on marijuana laws. He has spoken out about the negative effects of making marijuana recreationally available, but has said that changes to marijuana law should be handled on a state-by-state basis.In a reminder of the low salience of marijuana reform for many lawmakers and voters, the questions to Sessions on marijuana law came roughly six hours into his first day of hearings. By that time, many of the Senators had already left the room. Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center. Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Christopher IngrahamPublished: January 10, 2017Copyright: 2017 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on January 16, 2017 at 03:52:12 PT:
I know it's not needed. If Sessions is rejected, how likely is it that Trump will nominate another conservative ideologue who hates MJ? Anyways, it's going to be a Republican, any nominations from us?It's worth noting if we can stop the wreck...
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on January 13, 2017 at 08:07:34 PT:
The sweet sound of (eventual) victory
Sessions: "I think one of [Obama's] great failures, it's obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana. It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started 'Just Say No.'"Ah yeeees, the pining of a DrugWarrior for the 'good ol' days', the 'glory days' of being able to lie to the public with impunity about cannabis, as that lying had the imprimatur of government backing. Which in turn was illustrative of something else.Sessions is representative of DrugWarriors as a whole, and that representation is mainly a matter of generation.
The generation that believed government would not lie to them and accepted everything it said as Gospel. A generation whose previously publicly expressed racism was forced into silence (as the chief architect of the political 'Southern Strategy' put it, "You can't say n****r, n****r anymore...") but who still harbored it and projected it with the drug laws. One whose entertainment mirrored its innate authoritarianism and hostility to anything that challenged its worldview (look up the old 'Dragnet' series; 'Sergeant Joe Friday' and his holier-than-thou blatherings is a perfect example of this).That generation has almost completely died out, but the 'anti-drug' laws they allowed to be crafted to exercise their prejudices remain after their passing, like a landmine from a forgotten war, taking the lives and liberties of the 'kind' of people they sought to punish. People who they didn't know and who never did anything to them that merited such viciousness. Worse, people who know the truth about cannabis and base their opposition to his kind on scientific and historical facts instead of bitter, seething enmity.Sessions and his ilk are the last of a dying breed, and you can bet that they do, indeed, know it...and resent it. But like a dangerous wounded animal, they will lunge and thrash about in their death throes, seeking one last time to fatally gore those they have harmed all their professional lives. 
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Comment #7 posted by Vincent on January 13, 2017 at 04:10:21 PT:
Yes, "ironic".
"How ironic, the Bible thumping kind get thumped by their own Bibles"That makes sense to you, and to me, and to most intelligent folks, but trying to convince BRAINWASHED bible-bangers of that is, as the "Borg" said in Star Trek, "futile". Those people actually became, ahem, "christians", because they have absolutely NO self-control, and they needed to be "saved" -- from themselves. They go to these brainwashing centers, and they are constantly told that they are "victims", that it was the "drugs", or the "sex", or the "Gambling" that made them that way.Such simplistic bull!
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Comment #6 posted by Garry Minor on January 12, 2017 at 05:27:37 PT:
Vincent #1
You said;"Well, if HE decides to make the grave mistake of opposing us, we will unleash an insurrection that he, and his bible-thumping kind, won't be able to deal with."Now, imagine if he and his Bible thumping kind were faced with the Truth.
That in the original Hebrew text of Exodus 30:23, God instructs Moses to use 250 shekels of "Kaneh bosm, Cannabis" to prepare the Holy Anointing Oil, Chrism for Anointing His priests, kings and prophets.How will these Bible thumpers deal with the fact that in order to be called worthy of the title "Christian," literally "Anointed One," that person must be Anointed with the original Holy Oil, Chrism?It's True !How ironic, the Bible thumping kind get thumped by their own Bibles.1 John 2:18-29There is water in water, there is Fire in Chrism.
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Comment #5 posted by Hooter on January 11, 2017 at 19:16:10 PT:
A Chance to Break Resistance
Beauregard represents what is left of the old drug warriors. They're tired of fighting. They've lived a life of calling for death penalties to seeing the miracles of the lives marijuana has saved. Congress made it illegal, like he said. And Congress needs to change it, like he said. They have been fine with letting states make their own laws since 2012 at least. So now is the time to pressure our representatives to reschedule marijuana. Let Beauregard worry about other things. 
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on January 11, 2017 at 17:25:38 PT
Support to end cannabis prohibition only GROWS
Although theres plenty of negativekeep in mind the positive.Our movement IS a movement; it's direction is solid.More people voted for cannabis issues than for any Prez...We are going forward. No doubt about it. None of these goons are going to change that enthusiasm to stop caging responsible adults who choose to use cannabis.THEY ARE ONLY ABLE TO INCREASE SUPPORT.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 11, 2017 at 10:27:40 PT
I doubt empathy will be any part of this administration.
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on January 11, 2017 at 08:58:03 PT
In the land of the stupids 
It's a shame we have to deal with these morons. Trump is really trumping us with these guys who lack a moral compa$$. 
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Comment #1 posted by Vincent on January 11, 2017 at 03:44:36 PT:
Drug war
He tried to avoid really getting into the prohibition of Marijuana, probably because he wants to "pass inspection" and be confirmed. But, make no mistakes...this guy is a "Yokel", with no sympathy for our kind. Well, if HE decides to make the grave mistake of opposing us, we will unleash an insurrection that he, and his bible-thumping kind, won't be able to deal with.
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