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Jeff Sessions Personally Asked Congress To Let Him Prosecute Medical Marijuana Providers

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/13/jeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers/?utm_term=.dc3ca1033123

 

 

Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical marijuana providers

 

 

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.

The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of Massroots.com and verified independently by The Washington Post, Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act." He continues:

 

 

"I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives."

 

 

Sessions's citing of a "historic drug epidemic" to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books.

 

 

 

That research strongly suggests that cracking down on medical marijuana laws, as Sessions requested, could perversely make the opiate epidemic even worse.

In an email, John Hudak of the Brookings Institution characterized the letter's arguments as a "scare tactic" that  "could appeal to rank-and-file members or to committee chairs in Congress in ways that could threaten the future of this Amendment."

 

 

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has significant bipartisan support in Congress. Medical marijuana is incredibly popular with voters overall. A Quinnipiac poll conducted in April found it was supported by 94 percent of the public. Nearly three-quarters of voters said they disapprove of the government enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it either medically or recreationally.

 

 

 

Through a spokesman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) said that "Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana."

 

Advocates have been closely watching the Trump administration for any sign of how it might tackle the politically complex issue of marijuana legalization. Candidate Trump had offered support of state-level medical marijuana regulations, including the notion that states should be free to do what they want on the policy. But Sessions's letter, with its explicit appeal to allow the Justice Department to go after medical marijuana providers, appears to undermine that support.

 

The letter, along with a signing statement from President Trump indicating some skepticism of medical marijuana protections, "should make everyone openly question whether candidate Trump's rhetoric and the White House's words on his support for medical marijuana was actually a lie to the American public on an issue that garners broad, bipartisan support," said Hudak of the Brookings Institution.

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Next we will see something from Eric Holder. California is paying him to be their mouthpiece on medical marijuana rights. Too bad we got the wrong person on the Supreme Court. This was all so predictable. Like a long coal train running head on at a train full of cannabis patients and their providers. We pointed out the 'switches' along the way to send the coal train barreling in another direction. At each switch we failed to save the people. Now there are no switches left. Only divine intervention will save the people on the train.

mishigami bear likes this

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And get a D governor. Don't forget that part. That's a thumb in the eye of the prohibitionists too. They always brag up how many R governors they have. Legalization and a D Michigan governor go hand in hand. A decent Michigan attorney general would be icing on that cake. 

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Yea,... not sure we will the Governorship.  Not sure I even like any of the Democrats at all.  Michigan democrats do suck for the most part.  I can see why they control absolutely nothing in the state.  Spineless jellyfish with no plans or solutions.  I deal with them regularly.  Useless.

 

Detroit dems are horrible. And nowhere else votes Dem.  Heh.  (exaggerated)

 

Gotta remember, I am from Chicago area originally.  Where Unions still rule the day.

 

I was shocked when I moved to Michigan to find out how backwards arsed the government is.

 

I thought it was similar to like Illinois.  Not even kinda sorta.

ANHEMP and zaphod like this

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I had no idea how corrupt our government was until 2008+. Michigan Medical Marijuana has been a real eye opener. I thought the problems were mostly just created by big business until I learned how our government enables all the troubles I have seen in my lifetime. 

zapatosunidos and ANHEMP like this

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Our electoral system is generally broken. It is tough to have any hope in government under those conditions. It is impossible to elect a really good candidate for just about any position under these conditions.

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It makes me wonder how much money Trump and Sessions have invested in the pharmaceutical industry. We'll probably never know unless Trump's forced to release his tax returns. This might happen if the recent suit filed against him proceeds to discovery. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-and-maryland-to-sue-president-trump-alleging-breach-of-constitutional-oath/2017/06/11/0059e1f0-4f19-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html?utm_term=.48bc0439ddfa

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Sessions has investments in funds that include CoreCivic and GEO Group, private prison corporations.

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Sessions has investments in funds that include CoreCivic and GEO Group, private prison corporations.

 

You'll probably find Trump has similar investments.

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If you watch Sessions through his career the guy thrives on hate and controlling those he hates. Trump provides a perfect environment for him to thrive.

 

Trump, you would think, thrives on making money. But it turns out he thrives on getting attention and being a 'big deal'. Good attention, bad attention, he doesn't care. He's just like Kim Jong Un. Just another spoiled fat kid running a country. 

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i always say if you're goin' to wish,,wish big..lol..i'll wish this time...Sessions has to resign because of failing health and Bernie Sanders replaces Trump in a special election after Trump and all staff, including the V.P., are convicted of treason...now we're talking..lol..bp 

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Jeff Sessions is going to take a flamethrower to the whole medical and recreational cannabis industry. If Trump doesn't put a bit in this guy's mouth the whole thing could crash. Banks are already refusing cannabis business money for fear of possible money laundering charges

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10 minutes ago, oldirongut said:

Jeff Sessions is going to take a flamethrower to the whole medical and recreational cannabis industry. If Trump doesn't put a bit in this guy's mouth the whole thing could crash. Banks are already refusing cannabis business money for fear of possible money laundering charges

Trump is powerless. Sold his soul to Russia and everyone knows it now. Sessions is powerless in turn because he was part of the campaign that worked with Russia. He has one foot on the impeachment express and the other on a banana peel. Karma is a BEOTCH!

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Sessions will likely write a memo. Until he is out and a new one is written, will law enforcement follow it?

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States Keep Saying Yes to Marijuana Use. Now Comes the Federal No.

By AVANTIKA CHILKOTI

JULY 15, 2017

 

 

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Marijuana plants in a grow house and dispensary in Quincy, Mass. Voters in the state approved a law to legalize recreational marijuana in November. Credit Adam Glanzman for The New York Times

In a national vote widely viewed as a victory for conservatives, last year’s elections also yielded a win for liberals in eight states that legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. But the growing industry is facing a federal crackdown under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has compared cannabis to heroin.

A task force Mr. Sessions appointed to, in part, review links between violent crimes and marijuana is scheduled to release its findings by the end of the month. But he has already asked Senate leaders to roll back rules that block the Justice Department from bypassing state laws to enforce a federal ban on medical marijuana.

That has pitted the attorney general against members of Congress across the political spectrum — from Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, to Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey — who are determined to defend states’ rights and provide some certainty for the multibillion-dollar pot industry.

“Our attorney general is giving everyone whiplash by trying to take us back to the 1960s,” said Representative Jared Huffman, Democrat of California, whose district includes the so-called Emerald Triangle that produces much of America’s marijuana.

Continue reading the main story
 

“Prosecutorial discretion is everything given the current conflict between the federal law and the law of many states,” he said in an interview last month.

In February, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the Trump administration would look into enforcing federal law against recreational marijuana businesses. Some states are considering tougher stands: In Massachusetts, for example, the Legislature is trying to rewrite a law to legalize recreational marijuana that voters passed in November.

Around one-fifth of Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal for adult use, according to the Brookings Institution, and an estimated 200 million live in places where medicinal marijuana is legal. Cannabis retailing has moved from street corners to state-of-the-art dispensaries and stores, with California entrepreneurs producing rose gold vaporizers and businesses in Colorado selling infused drinks.

Mr. Sessions is backed by a minority of Americans who view cannabis as a “gateway” drug that drives social problems, like the recent rise in opioid addiction.

“We love Jeff Sessions’s position on marijuana because he is thinking about it clearly,” said Scott Chipman, Southern California chairman for Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.

He dismissed the idea of recreational drug use. “‘Recreational’ is a bike ride, a swim, going to the beach,” he said. “Using a drug to put your brain in an altered state is not recreation. That is self-destructive behavior and escapism.”

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked a task force to review links between violent crimes and marijuana. Its findings are scheduled to be released by the end of the month. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Marijuana merchants are protected by a provision in the federal budget that prohibits the Justice Department from spending money to block state laws that allow medicinal cannabis. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department did not interfere with state laws that legalize marijuana and instead focused on prosecuting drug cartels and the transport of pot across state lines.

In March, a group of senators that included Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, asked Mr. Sessions to stick with existing policies. Some lawmakers also want to allow banks to work with the marijuana industry and to allow tax deductions for business expenses.

Lawmakers who support legalizing marijuana contend that it leads to greater regulation, curbs the black market and stops money laundering. They point to studies showing that the war on drugs, which began under President Richard M. Nixon, had disastrous impacts on national incarceration rates and racial divides.

 

In a statement, Mr. Booker said the Trump administration’s crackdown against marijuana “will not make our communities safer or reduce the use of illegal drugs.”

“Instead, they will worsen an already broken system,” he said, noting that marijuana-related arrests are disproportionately high for black Americans.

Consumers spent $5.9 billion on legal cannabis in the United States last year, according to the Arcview Group, which studies and invests in the industry. That figure is expected to reach $19 billion by 2021.

A Quinnipiac University poll in February concluded that 59 percent of American voters believe cannabis should be legal. Additionally, the poll found, 71 percent say the federal government should not prosecute marijuana use in states that have legalized it.

“This is part of a larger set of issues that the country is wrestling with right now, where a very strong-willed minority is trying to impose its value system on the country as a whole,” said Roger McNamee, an industry investor.

But marijuana businesses are bracing for a possible clampdown.

“People that were sort of on the fence — a family office, a high-net-worth individual thinking of privately financing a licensed opportunity — it has swayed them to go the other way and think: not just yet,” said Randy Maslow, a founder of iAnthus Capital Holdings. The public company raises money in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon and a co-chairman of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, is urging marijuana businesses not to be “unduly concerned.”

“We have watched where the politicians have consistently failed to be able to fashion rational policy and show a little backbone,” he said. “This issue has been driven by the people.”

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In a national vote widely viewed as a victory for conservatives, last year’s elections also yielded a win for liberals





marijuana, especially medical marijuana is not a conservative vs liberal ideal. it has wide support from everyone, in every poll, local or nationwide. with florida getting medical marijuana vote at 70%, which is the most % a medical marijuana state has been created so far.

michigan was the previous biggest percentage with 63%. now we cant claim it any longer.

florida leans heavily republican. its not a republican vs democrat thing. although republicans dislike marijuana more than democrats. with independents supporting marijuana more than either party.

Edited by bax
GrowGoddess likes this

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It's the 'prohibitionists' that are the problem: Religious nuts, pot phobes, prison advocates, and cops that think busting people is job/budget security.  Most of them bribe the Republicans rather than bribing the Democrats. So it just looks like Republicans are generally the problem. And then you have these guys like Sessions that actually hate us, he's a Republican. Most of the worst haters are. 

Edited by Restorium2

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its the definition of republicans who have not woken up to see that the elected republicans say they are for smaller govt and no new taxes and then turn around and make bigger govt and more taxes.

 

there are plenty of conservatives still around, why they vote republican is anyones guess
 

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