Jeff Sessions’s Endless War on Marijuana
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Jeff Sessions’s Endless War on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 08, 2018 at 05:34:17 PT
By The NYT Editorial Board
Source: New York Times 
Washington, D.C. -- The key to understanding the Trump administration’s approach to policy, it seems, is to look at what most Americans want and then imagine the opposite.Consider the new guidance on marijuana that Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued last week, which reverses Obama-era policy and gives prosecutors more leeway to enforce federal laws against the drug in states where it is legal. Mr. Sessions has been on a lifelong crusade against the plant, which he considers the root of many of society’s ills.
And yet more than six in 10 Americans, and seven in 10 of those under 30, believe marijuana should be legal, twice as many as in 2000. Three-quarters of the public believe the federal government should not prosecute the drug’s sale or use in states where it is legal.In other words, the new policy is deeply unpopular. Many of its harshest critics are members of the president’s own party, who expressed outrage at the reversal of Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to leave the matter to the states.Senator Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, where legalized marijuana has spawned a $1 billion industry, threatened to block all nominees to the Justice Department until the new policy is dropped.Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, laid the blame at the feet of Mr. Sessions, saying he “betrayed us on this.” A 2014 law co-sponsored by Mr. Rohrabacher prohibits the Justice Department from going after users, growers or sellers of medical marijuana in states where it is legal. The use of recreational marijuana became legal in California on Jan. 1. Even Matt Gaetz, the Florida representative last seen trying to get the special counsel Robert Mueller fired, said the new policy showed Mr. Sessions’s “desire to pursue an antiquated, disproven dogma instead of the will of the American people.”None of this will bother the attorney general, a lifelong antidrug crusader who runs the Justice Department like it’s 1988, when the war on drugs was at full throttle and the kneejerk political response was to be as punitive as possible. Mr. Sessions has long held a particular enmity for pot, which he continues to demonize. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he said in 2016.This is wrongheaded for so many reasons. It’s out of step with current knowledge about the risks and benefits of marijuana, which the federal government classified as a Schedule I drug in 1970. By that definition, it has no accepted medical use and is more dangerous than cocaine. Obviously this is outdated, and Congress needs to do its part by removing marijuana from Schedule I. But nothing is stopping Mr. Sessions in the meantime from accepting scientific facts.The new policy is also blind to the massive cultural shift toward legalization that has been happening at the state level in recent years, after decades of outrageously harsh punishments that have fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of people of color. Eight states have now legalized marijuana for recreational use. California is now the world’s largest legal market for pot. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. By the end of this year, it is estimated that legal marijuana will be a $9 billion industry.Finally, to the extent the new policy redirects scarce government resources toward more marijuana prosecutions, it will undermine efforts to address more serious drug problems, like the opioid crisis, an actual public-health emergency that kills tens of thousands of people a year.The full impact of the Sessions memo isn’t immediately clear. Federal prosecutors are overstretched, and only bring a small number of marijuana prosecutions as it is. But the memo has already created legal uncertainty in states that have partly or fully legalized marijuana, leaving users, growers and sellers to wonder whether their actions will be ignored or will land them behind bars.Whatever its ultimate impact, the memo is yet another example of how the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions is turning back the clock on smart, evidence-based justice policy. His unwelcome revival of the war on drugs will last at least as long as the attorney general does. It is one of the reasons he has endured the continuing humiliations of working for Donald Trump.A version of this editorial appears in print on January 8, 2018, on Page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: Jeff Sessions’s Endless War on MarijuanaSource: New York Times (NY) Published: January 8, 2018Copyright: 2018 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on January 10, 2018 at 17:46:02 PT
No mediate changes, however,,,See post #3
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on January 10, 2018 at 16:51:48 PT
That meeting...
No immediate changes after Sen. Cory Gardner marijuana meeting with AG Jeff Sessions
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 10, 2018 at 06:30:15 PT
Sessions and Gardner to meet to discuss marijuana
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on January 10, 2018 at 06:27:44 PT
"Massive cultural shift toward legalization".
That sounds so good.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 10, 2018 at 06:11:34 PT
Heard. Heard. Do you suppose he ever heard it.I hope President Lincoln was right and they are repealing that law even as we type... and make typos... and stuff.Get rid of that bad law that is hurting our citizens all over the place and has been devastating citizens for decades now! It was bad law in the beginning and it still is!
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on January 10, 2018 at 06:07:53 PT
Do you suppose Sessions ever head this?
“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”― Abraham Lincoln
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on January 09, 2018 at 19:36:03 PT
That's just the Colorado contingency. Other states are joining in & additional states are getting in on the action.Now it's a fight.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on January 09, 2018 at 15:48:25 PT
A little update and some thoughts,
"""The U.S. House of Representatives officially returned from recess Tuesday morning (1/9/18), but a slew of Democrats got to work Monday by adding their names as co-sponsors on four marijuana-related bills: The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017 (House Bill 975), The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (House Bill 1227), Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act (House Bill 1823), and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act (House Bill 1841).From the Denver Post also lists the new supporters. They're all Democrats. It showcases, again, how Republican politicians, in general, oppose ending cannabis prohibition more often than Dem's.Also in that news:"""Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., in an interview with The Cannabist on Friday, said he believed Sessions’ actions would spur additional support for cannabis-related legislation introduced in recent months.-0-Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said he plans to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions on federal marijuana policy when the two Republicans meet Wednesday — emphasizing in an interview that he is prepared to block all nominees related to the Department of Justice, including U.S. marshals and U.S. attorneys from other states, if he doesn’t get his way. this Republican credit; threatening to block all nominees related to the Department of Justice, including U.S. marshals and U.S. attorneys from other states, IS a CREATIVE HARD BALL MOVE! (love it) -AND COULD HELP Favorable RESULTS.
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on January 08, 2018 at 16:55:34 PT
Thanks Sam for your wise words, as always!Yes, it is, apparently, endless...As I have stated many times, on and on, we go...Because, it is just such a beneficial plant to mankind.And, it is proving, in its own right, the failings of our current corrupt, racially biased and greedy system.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on January 08, 2018 at 10:49:15 PT
NY Times
great article! They're on the bandwagon now....of course for the last 30 years the NY Times was one of the most pro-drug war, pro-rascist media outlets on Earth!
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