Marijuana

This Bill Would Protect Medical Marijuana Suppliers From Jeff Sessions' Whims

The bipartisan CARERS Act prohibits federal prosecution of patients and providers who comply with state law.

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USDOJ

Today a bipartisan group of senators plans to introduce a new version of the CARERS Act, which aims to protect medical use of marijuana in the 29 states that allow it.

Among other things, the bill would provide a more permanent shield from prosecution and forfeiture than the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment, the spending rider that bars the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

As Mike Riggs noted on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent congressional leaders a letter urging them not to include the rider, which has to be reapproved each fiscal year, in the DOJ appropriations bill enacted last month.

After Congress rejected Sessions' request, President Trump signed the bill but issued a statement implying that he might ignore the rider if that was necessary to meet his "constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Such a scenario is hard to imagine, since those laws include the restrictions imposed by the Rohrbacher/Farr amendment.

It's not clear how significant the letter and the signing statement are as indicators of Sessions' intentions because the Obama administration also opposed the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment and urged courts to read it narrowly. Under Eric Holder, the DOJ argued that the rider covered only direct legal challenges to medical marijuana programs. Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected that interpretation, ruling that the rider also prohibits the prosecution of people who supply or possess marijuana for medical use in compliance with state laws.

Despite opposing the rider, the Obama administration eventually settled on a policy of prosecutorial restraint, generally tolerating state-licensed marijuana businesses, including those serving recreational consumers, unless they violated state law or impinged on "federal law enforcement priorities."

Sessions has said he agrees with much of that policy but thinks it was not applied vigorously enough—an attitude that, along with his well-known anti-pot prejudices, could signal a crackdown. But so far Sessions has not tried to shut down state-legal cannabusinesses, which federal prosecutors could easily do simply by writing some threatening letters. Nor has he challenged state marijuana laws in federal court, even as lawsuits by other parties (neighboring states, local law enforcement officials, and anti-drug activists) have fizzled out.

Sessions' restraint may have something to do with positions taken by his boss before and after the presidential election. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said states should be free to legalize marijuana, and he has consistently said medical use should be permitted. A crackdown on medical marijuana would break Trump's promises, and it would stir up a lot of political trouble with no obvious upside, other than gratification of Sessions' prohibitionist impulses.

Still, it would be nice to have some lasting protection from the attorney general's whims. In addition to prohibiting federal prosecution of patients and their suppliers, the CARERS Act would eliminate some obstacles to marijuana research, allow doctors employed by the Veterans Health Administration to recommend medical marijuana in states where it is legal, and remove cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive but therapeutically promising component of marijuana, from Schedule I, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. The bill, which was originally introduced in 2015, no longer includes provisions that would have removed marijuana from Schedule I and protected banks that serve the cannabis industry.

Those provisions were cut in the hope of attracting broader support for the bill. The initial sponsors this year include Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who did not back the 2015 version, as well as Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.), who were cosponsors then.

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  1. My dearest hope over the next however long it takes is to see the thorough professional repudiation and personal humiliation of Jeff Sessions.

    1. Start calling him by his middle name Beauregard. That should be a good start.

      1. Don’t beauregard that joint my friend

  2. You would think this bill would be able to pass in Congress if we really do live in a representative Republic considering 83% of the public favors medical marijuana.

    Removing the re-scheduling of marijuana and the bank protection provisions kind of sucks, but hopefully it will make it more likely to pass, or even receive a vote on the floor. Baby steps I suppose.

    1. That 83% of the public is shaken down by the IRS to cough up vast sums. That money bribes (subsidizes) the looter media to avoid all but sneering mention of any party not a faction of The Kleptocracy. This anti-libertarian tax code amendment was spearheaded by Richard Milhous Nixon (R) within a day of the LP filing its papers as an organization. Remember that whenever pro-freedom bills are scraped up off the floor of “the House.”

    2. Want marijuana legalized? Do something about it: http://www.norml.org/act

  3. This Bill Would Protect Medical Marijuana Suppliers From Jeff Sessions’ Whims

    It’ll then be the first time in recorded history that a bill proposed, voted and signed by agents of the State protects people from the whims of the State.

  4. Why don’t they just introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana and/or all drugs?

    What a Legislative thing to do- create more double standards and overly complicated rules.

    1. Because they love us so much it hurts.

      1. They do love to throw us in jail for our own good.

    2. Legislation is the ultimate solution.

      But rather than do anything lasting they’ll continue to grant limited permissions.

      Hardly a cause for celebration, but at least a gesture in the right direction.

  5. The United States Congress has so much goodwill to burn with the American people so it’s not like they risk anything by ignoring the will of the American people by continuing this vile campaign of theft and kidnapping in the name of cannabis prohibition. By all means Congress you should just keep ignoring and torturing us to satisfy your greed and delusional control freakery.

    1. People who are not greedy, delusional control freaks don’t get involved in politics.

  6. Jacob could do us all a favor by revealing the wordcount or number of pages in the wonderful new bill the looters are planning to spring on us. The entire Constitution is something like 7000 words, and any law half that size might sensibly be rejected out of hand. The assumption that many words disguise many lies is no more than a reasonable precaution when dealing with parasitical gangs–whether of cynical populists or mystical national socialists. What protects us from Anointed General Sessions and the klavern he represents is the four million votes cast for the Libertarian presidential ticket–to say nothing of additional millions cast in races the Kleptocracy would rather not talk about. Neville Chamberlain waved a single sheet to betray Britain into trusting God’s Own Socialist Fuehrer. Why should we assign merit to reports of a well-intentioned oevre as thick as a phone book assembled by connivers in fraud dedicated to the initiation of force as their primary goal?

  7. Jacob could do us all a favor by revealing the wordcount or number of pages in the wonderful new bill the looters are planning to spring on us. The entire Constitution is something like 7000 words, and any law half that size might sensibly be rejected out of hand. The assumption that many words disguise many lies is no more than a reasonable precaution when dealing with parasitical gangs–whether of cynical populists or mystical national socialists. What protects us from Anointed General Sessions and the klavern he represents is the four million votes cast for the Libertarian presidential ticket–to say nothing of additional millions cast in races the Kleptocracy would rather not talk about. Neville Chamberlain waved a single sheet to betray Britain into trusting God’s Own Socialist Fuehrer. Why should we assign merit to reports of a well-intentioned oevre as thick as a phone book assembled by connivers in fraud dedicated to the initiation of force as their primary goal?

  8. I remember that Obama interview with Jake Tapper where Tapper asked him about rescheduling marijuana and Obama said that was something that required Congressional action. He got visibly aggravated and peevish when Tapper persisted in pointing out that the CSA explicitly provided for the executive branch to reschedule and that, no, it did not require Congressional action. Obama hemmed and, uh, hawed around the issue by more or less saying that rescheduling marijuana would require Congressional action insofar as spreading around the political risk, nobody in Washington is brave stupid enough to show some leadership stick their necks out on the issue. You gotta coax these shitweasels out of their safe spaces where it’s so comfortable to sit around talking about stuff without ever actually doing anything that might wind up in a political opponent’s campaign ad. It’s like dealing with little baby kittens scared of their own shadow and too afraid to do anything but lay there mewling.

    1. If Trump wasn’t under so much threat from the establishment/statist I could actually see him directing the delisting of marijuana.

      Given the current environment in DC he wouldn’t even entertain the thought.

      1. He wouldn’t entertain the thought with Sessions as his AG. Sessions would put him in line.

  9. I have dedicated my life to the pursuit to fire Jeff Sessions. I have purchased http://www.firejeffsessions.com in where we sell a tee shirt where 10% of the proceeds go to aiding the firing of Jeff Sessions. Stand up, people! Help me in my crusade.

    -Fonzworth Snickelfritz
    CEO | Advocate
    http://www.firejeffsessions.com

  10. Or we could just demand Sessions resign… the country is suffering a soft invasion by illegal aliens who are being aided and abetted by their Hate America to destruction Ameri’Kan Politi’Kal Klass while this dolt is trying to harm American citizens by denying the access to medical MJ… O ! wait, he is one of them…

  11. I’m not even going to read an article like this.

    Please see 9TH Amendment to the Constitution!!
    If that is not enough,,, Please see 10TH Amendment to the Constitution!!

    If you are really going to be a part of the United States of America, pull your reasoning heads out of your ass!!!

    The Fucking government can NOT legislate, decree, or “rule” beyond the very clear and concise LIMITATIONS that the first 10 Amendment ARE!!

    Come on folks, what the hell is your problem?

  12. You can make this bill the law of the land along with other marijuana reform bills: http://www.norml.org/act

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