Jeff Sessions Could Reverse Years Of Progress

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  Jeff Sessions Could Reverse Years Of Progress

Posted by CN Staff on November 19, 2016 at 12:03:14 PT
By Matt Ferner 
Source: Huffington Post 

USA -- President-elect Donald Trump has nominated hardline drug policy reform opponent Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general of the United States, a move that sent shockwaves through the marijuana legalization movement on Friday.Marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, despite the expansion of recreational programs in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. (The District, however, continues to ban sales, unlike the state programs.) Four new states approved legalization on Election Day, and 29 states in total have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. This movement has only been able to press forward because of guidance urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.
Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Justice has allowed states to forge their own way on marijuana policy. But that guidance could be reversed when the Trump administration enters the White House. If confirmed, Sessions would sit atop the DOJ, the federal agency that oversees federal prosecutors and enforces federal law on the plant. “Jeff Sessions should scare every regulator, government official, cannabis industry operator, patient and consumer across the country,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who writes extensively on marijuana policy.An Attorney General Sessions could reverse the federal guidance allowing state marijuana programs “with the stroke of a pen,” Hudak said.He could also use the FBI to crack down on marijuana operations nationwide and use the Drug Enforcement Agency to enforce federal prohibition outside of the jurisdiction of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court ¯ the court that ruled in August that a federal rider blocks federal officials from prosecuting state-legal marijuana operators and patients. This rider that the 9th Circuit affirmed must be reapproved each year, and Sessions could order DEA enforcement nationwide if it were allowed to expire. He could also file lawsuits that seek to shut down state and local governments enforcing marijuana reforms and administering regulatory programs.“In all, [he] could undo much of what has become the Obama Doctrine with regard to marijuana policy in the United States,” Hudak said. “That policy reversal is the worst-case scenario for the marijuana industry.”Advocates for drug policy reform have blasted Trump for selecting Sessions.“Donald Trump’s decision heralds a return to the worst days of the drug war,” said Bill Piper, senior director of national affairs at Drug Policy Alliance, a drug policy reform group. “Jeff Sessions is a drug war dinosaur, which is the last thing the nation needs now,” said Ethan Nadelmann, DPA’s executive director. “Those who counted on Donald Trump’s reassurance that marijuana reforms ‘should be a state issue’ will be sorely disappointed.”Trump has said he would respect states’ rights on the issue, but Sessions’ track record of opposing marijuana reform is deeply troubling to people who favor progressive drug laws. During a Senate hearing earlier this year, Sessions spoke out against marijuana and urged the federal government to send the message to the public that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He went on to say that “we need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized” and blasted Obama’s stance on the issue. He called the legalization of marijuana “a mistake” last year. In 1986, when Sessions had been nominated to be a federal judge, a former assistant U.S. attorney accused him of saying that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was acceptable until he found out members smoked marijuana. Sessions allegedly made the statement in connection with the prosecution of a Klan member who had hanged a black man.Despite Sessions’ retrograde views on the plant, the trend of state-level legalization reflects a broader cultural shift toward acceptance of marijuana, the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States. National support for the legalization of marijuana has risen dramatically in recent years, reaching historic highs in multiple polls just last month. States like Colorado have established regulated marijuana marketplaces, and successes there have debunked some lawmakers’ and law enforcers’ predictions that such polices would result in disaster. And although many drug policy reformers are disappointed in the Sessions pick, some are holding out hope that they’ll be able persevere should he be confirmed.“While the choice certainly isn’t good news for marijuana reform, I’m still hopeful the new administration will realize that any crackdown against broadly popular laws in a growing number of states would create huge political problems they don’t need and will use lots of political capital they’d be better off spending on issues the new president cares a lot more about,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.Mason Tvert, communications director for Marijuana Policy Project, said he expects appointees who “serve at the pleasure of the president” to stick the president’s position.“It would certainly be controversial if Sen. Sessions completely defied the president who appointed him,” Tvert said. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who has been at the forefront of efforts to reform marijuana laws at the federal level, called Sessions potentially helming the nation’s justice system “deeply disturbing,” considering his opposition to reform on issues like criminal justice, immigration and marijuana. “I am hopeful that the next administration, regardless of the attorney general’s personal feelings, will respect the 10th Amendment and states’ rights to set their own policy in regards to cannabis,” Blumenauer said, calling on the Senate to reject Sessions’ nomination. But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a leading conservative voice on marijuana policy reform, told The Huffington Post that people shouldn’t be concerned about Sessions interfering with state marijuana policies as long as Trump upholds his campaign promise.“The president of the United States will be making that decision and Trump has publicly stated during the election that he was in favor of letting the states make the decision on this policy,” Rohrabacher said. “Jeff Sessions is a loyal man with integrity, he will do what his boss wants him to do.”He added that Trump likely picked Sessions because of the senator’s views on immigration, not weed.“They have probably never discussed marijuana,” he said.Still, Hudak said Trump’s notorious tendency to waffle on any number of issues is a reason for concern, and noted there is no indication that Sessions would help the marijuana industry. “The only question is how much will he be allowed and to what extent, he will harm the industry,” he said. Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Matt FernerPublished: November 18, 2016Copyright: 2016, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on November 20, 2016 at 10:34:16 PT:
A usually correct trends forecaster speaks
I've been following a trends forecaster named Gerald Celente for years, as he's been more often right than wrong. (Trump winning the Presidency when earlier this year everyone else was saying that was nonsense is a typical example.)He has an interesting forecast on YouTube. Gerald Celente-2017 Predictions-MSM Gone and Financial Market Panic Coming to 21:15 if you're not interested in hearing his acerbic diatribe on the MSM and some of its denizens, or you're not interested in things geopolitical. What he has to say isn't more than a snippet, but it's interesting coming from him. In short, it's what we've been saying all along: it's all about tax revenues now, the prohibs have lost the health argument, and thus lost the war.
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on November 20, 2016 at 09:49:35 PT
and then there's Canada
Canada due to RE-legalize in the spring of 2017 is going to catch the attention of Americans in a new way regarding the superplant.
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on November 20, 2016 at 09:44:06 PT:
Populism made Trump; it can break him
There are few issues more popular than re-legalizing cannabis. More often than not, when it comes to plebiscites or legislation, cannabis is usually the winner of any such effort. No matter who Trump installs as Top LE attack dog, with half the country legal on one basis or another, the writing is on the wall. And it's written in red ink; with almost a third of Americans out of work, the tax base for maintaining prohibition just doesn't exist. Try to inflate the money supply to pay for an expanded Federal government, in part to pay for more prohibition, and the economic chickens won't only come home to roost, they'll be dive-bombing the hen-house. A nation 20 Trillion in the hole without a fart's chance with a flamethrower of ever paying it back has finally got to sit down and get its priorities straight. And cannabis prohibition isn't one of them. The fiscal can has been kicked to the end of the road. Cannabis re-legalization is more nationally popular than any President these past 16 years, and its proven profitable as well. The economy is on terribly shaky grounds. The President-Elect is very fond of saying that America needs industries to remedy that shakiness. One truly home-grown (partial pun intended) one is appearing all over the country, with the electorate's blessing. If he is a quarter of the businessman he claims to be, Trump will recognize these facts and do what no Prez before him has ever done, and remove cannabis from Schedule 1 and finally remove the roadblocks to its flourishing. His predecessors could afford to ignore the angry public and pay heed only to the self-serving bureaucratic poobahs of prohibition as that anger hadn't reached the fever pitch it has in the past year; now the fact that it has is inescapable. As will be the wrath of those that voted for him should he forget that.
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on November 20, 2016 at 09:22:15 PT
Good people don't cage humans for using cannabis
By the way, the Reich winger may not even get approved. -some / many believe He will not.
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on November 20, 2016 at 07:07:49 PT
Cannabis won and will continue winning.
3 Reasons Why Trump Might Hesitate to Go After Legal PotThere's a lot of worry that the incoming president will try to reinstate Reefer Madness in states where it's already legal. Not likely, though. The feds can roll back legal marijuana regulation and taxation, but they can't roll back legal marijuana.Cont.-0-Cannabis is legal in those locations where voters made it legal and no matter what trumpot or associated nincompoops do it will remain legal. If citizens had contempt for cannabis prohibition before, the level of contempt if prohibitionists attempt further dirty work will increase to a scale never seen before.Cannabis won; trumpot did NOT.The pace may change but the direction is non-stop.
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on November 20, 2016 at 06:35:20 PT
No worries! 
Not even the stone cold sober, southern style Christian, with ignorant Reefer madness understanding of the superplant will have the power to return the genie to the bottle. It ain't 1995 anymore!
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on November 19, 2016 at 17:18:34 PT

Sam Adams
I did laugh out loud at your last comment.You very well could be right. We could be at the beginning of a four year run on bongs and paraphernalia as well as people stocking up on and hoarding cannabis!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on November 19, 2016 at 14:15:43 PT

to be fair MPP just financed a law in Nevada with Prohibition on gardening also.But many of these neo-progressive NGO's are definitely trying to milk Trump for all he's worth. I know when W. Bush got elected, donations to the ACLU tripled in one year. Gives you some idea of what's going on. Trump is going be a goldmine for some of these groups.  Remember what the right-wingers were being told when Obama got elected - he's going to take your guns! Did Obama ever do a single thing to affect federal gun control in 8 years? I don't think so, but gun sales and donations to the NRA went way up.I see the same thing happening here. Better go buy another bong! Trumps' going to take your weed away!

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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on November 19, 2016 at 14:07:35 PT

so basically Eric Holder ruthlessly raided peaceful business people in California while lying and saying he would leave them alone.  He said obeying state law would be OK, and then ordered his DOJ minions to steal the assets of Harborside in Oakland, one of the most respected and state-legal medical MJ businesses in the US.Sessions says he hates MJ users and will probably do some kind of raids. That's the difference between Republicans and Democrats.The DPA folks. "he's horrible! horrible! Give us more money now please! He's just awful! Give us some more money!"The actual MJ industry folks aren't worried. DPA are the ones who gave us the Washington state law that maintains Prohibition on growing cannabis in one of the most weed-friendly liberal states in the US.  

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