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Rejecting Sessions' Plea, Senate Panel Votes to Protect Medical Marijuana

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved renewal of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment by a voice vote.

C-SPANC-SPANJeff Sessions' former Senate colleagues, dismayed at Donald Trump's humilating tweets and comments about him, are rallying to his defense, urging the president to stop castigating an attorney general he describes as a "beleaguered" and "very weak" disappointment. But their solidarity with Sessions goes only so far, as demonstrated by today's vote on a spending rider that blocks Justice Department interference with medical marijuana laws.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the rider, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, by a voice vote, indicating that it was not controversial among the panel's members, who include 16 Republicans. The committee thereby rejected a personal plea by Sessions to let the amendment lapse.

"I write to renew the Department of Justice's opposition to the inclusion of language in any appropriations legislation that would prohibit the use of Department of Justice funds or in any way inhibit its authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act," Sessions said in a May 1 letter to Senate and House leaders. "I believe it would be unwise 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."

Evidently Sessions' former colleagues found that logic, tying medical marijuana to violence and heroin use, unpersuasive. The committee's approval of the rider Sessions opposes, which was first enacted in 2014 and has been renewed each year since then, sets the stage for its inclusion in the final bill providing funding for the Justice Department.

"This vote is not only a blow against an outdated Reefer Madness mindset," says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell, who first reported Sessions' letter. "It is a personal rebuke to Jeff Sessions. The attorney general, in contravention of President Trump's campaign pledges and of public opinion, specifically asked Congress to give him the power to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers who are following state laws. A bipartisan group of his former Senate colleagues just said no. A majority of states now allow medical cannabis, and we will not allow drug warriors in the Justice Department to roll back the clock. The war on marijuana is ending, even if Jeff Sessions doesn't realize it yet."

Two weeks ago, the same Senate committee, by a vote of 24 to 7, approved an amendment that would have permitted Veterans Health Administration doctors to recommend marijuana as a treatment in states that allow medical use. Last year that amendment passed the Senate and House by wide margins but did not end up in the final appropriations bill. Yesterday the House Rules Committee voted to keep the rider from proceeding to a floor vote.

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  • Longtobefree||

    When will the legislature require removal from schedule one?
    It has medicinal uses, and supposedly by law must be removed. Yet, strangely, nothing happens.

  • MSimon||

    Sessions is being sued over this..

    The brief: http://norml.org/images/_blog/ECF1.pdf

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'd feel better about this if i wasn't pretty sure that Sessions is going to take out his rage at being thwarted by beating a homeless man to death.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Jefferson doesn't strike me as the sort to get his hands dirty like that. But he'll definitely head back to the office for some quiet time with his laptop and some police brutality videos on YouTube.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I figured he'd use a Louisville Slugger. He'd definitely be naked while swinging it, though.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    He'd definitely be naked while swinging it, though.

    *barf*

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Like the guy in the $200 dollar suit is gonna get blood on his... C'mon!

  • Dillinger||

    he can't handle a Louisville Slugger. Wiffle or Nerf.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sessions needs to channel his rage into going after the real bad guys. The democrats. He should be spending every waking moment putting together prosecutions of all the crooked democrats and their cronies. So much low hanging fruit for him to lick from. The Climtons, Obama, Holder, Lerner, Hoskinen, the Wasserbeast (her IT guy just got kicked up by the FBI trying to flee the country), Lynch, etc.

    So many to choose from, and every one of them guilty as shit of some pretty awful crimes.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    This is certainly a comment.

  • Dillinger||

    they'll post his search history

  • Bob K||

    Congress: War's over, man. Colorado dropped the big one.

    Sessions: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Sessions: "Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my WoD! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But Colorado wouldn't let us win!"

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Hey hey ho ho! Jerky Jeff has got to go!!

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Rejecting Sessions' Plea, Senate Panel Votes to Protect Medical Marijuana
    The Senate Appropriations Committee approved renewal of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment by a voice vote.

    Not to worry.
    All those senators will be taken out and shot, along with their families, at the nearest gulag, when it is discovered they dare to disobey the American KGB's leader's orders.
    How else are we going to show the world we're a civilized and humane society if we don't shoot some dissidents from time to time?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Yeah...........

    Sarcasm, or you really believe that horseshit?

  • Uncle Jay||

    Sarcasm...always sarcasm.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Lurk moar, Elias. Ya noobtard.

  • μ Aggressor||

    Shame the veteran's amendment was quashed in the house committee, but at least this is keeping up the status quo (for another year). Wish my state had ballot initiatives, damn stupid that not all do.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The only reason they come to Sessions' defense at all is because "that could be me!" crosses their mind. But then they remember that Sessions isn't exactly being loyal to the wishes of his former Senate, so fuck him.

  • Spartacus||

    Sessions will be defenestrated in a few more months.
    Part of me thinks that nobody will be willing to take his place and subject themselves to the endless frustration, humiliation, and uncertainty of having a three year old for a boss.
    The other part of me thinks that there will always be plenty of people hungry for power and willing to endure anything to get it. This part will probably end up being right.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The other part of me thinks that there will always be plenty of people hungry for power and willing to endure anything to get it. This part will probably end up being right.

    Yep.

  • Wizard4169||

    The other part of me thinks that there will always be plenty of people hungry for power and willing to endure anything to get it. This part will probably end up being right.


    How terribly cynical! And how much more terrible that you're almost certainly right.

  • UnityFollowsValues||

    Kudos to the senate panel as Medical Marijuana has more value than a narrow minded, biased Sessions could own up to. My dog has been having cluster seizures (2 seizures in a 24 hour period) but switching him to CBD snacks lessened the seizures to once a week. Perhaps if Sessions took some medical Marijuana he would be more conscious to the needs of others.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    You know, I first heard that Trump was angry with Sessions last week, and thought, "ah, maybe because Sessions is going against the President's campaign promise to leave med marijuana alone. And/or maybe because Sessions is loudly pushing for more asset forfeiture - something most thinking, sympathetic people, let alone many state governments, are opposed to because of the severe abuses"

    Then I hear that Trump is angry with Sessions (apparently) only because Sessions recused himself from the Russia Probe, and I think "Really? Are you fucking kidding me?"

  • MSimon||

    The stated reason may not be the real reason.

  • Wizard4169||

    Typical Trump: back Sessions to the hilt while he rolls back many of the few good things to come out of the Obama administration, but then turn on him for doing something honest and ethical. It's really depressing to note that Trump tends to flip, flop and flail on many issues, but seems truly committed only to his worst ideas. At least it's amusing to watch the Trump cultists twist themselves into pretzels explaining how his latest reversal is all part of some brilliant strategy, and certainly not a sign of his lack of convictions and utter failure to do his homework. Seems like only yesterday they were praising Sessions to the heavens as the man to help "drain the swamp", but now that's gone down the memory hole as they condemn him as a weak-willed traitor.

  • b4integrity||

    Part 1

    "Attorney General" Jeff Sessions refuses to answer this communication to him regarding tobacco & alcohol:

    https://tinyurl.com/doj-webform

    9:08 AM, Friday

    2017Mar17

    Attorney General Sessions:

    The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) states:
    "The Congress makes the following findings and declarations:
    (1) The Congress has long recognized the danger involved in the manufacture, distribution, and use of certain psychotropic substances for nonscientific and nonmedical purposes, and has provided strong and effective legislation to control illicit trafficking and to regulate legitimate uses of psychotropic substances in this country. Abuse of psychotropic substances has become a phenomenon common to many countries, however, and is not confined to national borders. It is, therefore, essential that the United States cooperate with other nations in establishing effective controls over international traffic in such substances."
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/801a

  • b4integrity||

    Part 2

    Tobacco & alcohol are psychotropic (mood-altering) substances, affecting mental activity, behavior, or perception when ingested.
    Tobacco & alcohol are the two most deadly & dangerous of all drugs.
    Tobacco drug use accounts for more drug deaths (~480,000 tobacco drug deaths/year) than the summation of the drug deaths from the use of all other drugs, including alcohol, combined!

    Are there any scientific and/or medical purposes for the use of the psychotropic substances tobacco & alcohol? If there are, what are the scientific & medical purposes for the use of tobacco & alcohol?
    What are the legitimate uses of the psychotropic substances, tobacco & alcohol, in this country?
    What is(are) the reason(s) that tobacco & alcohol are exempt from the CSA [21 U.S.C. § 802(6)]?

    Why haven't you called for Congress to either:
    1) Repeal the exemptions of tobacco & alcohol from the CSA and classify tobacco as the schedule I controlled substance it is by definition, and alcohol as the schedule II controlled substance it is by definition; or
    2) Repeal the entire CSA and abolish the DEA?

  • m.EK||

    I find it disappointing but not surprising that Congress, the Executive Branch and even the so called "supreme court" still think that the government can "legally" wage the drug war.
    What is astounding is that you folks at Reason still can not see or won't see that the first 10 Amendments are there telling the federal government what they can NOT legislate, decree, or "rule" on!! This is there purpose. This also is the purpose of the Oath of Office (a LEGAL and binding contract!!) to force these jack-offs to honor their Oaths or face criminal prosecution for violating the Oath!
    Haven't you read what Madison and Henry were saying when they introduced what would become the first 10 Amendments. The discussion was NOT about rules/"laws" for the citizenry or electorate but very clear and concise LIMITS on what the Federal Government can do. Limits on their authority and autonomy. That is there only purpose!!
    Come on guys, get it right!
    This is some important stuff! This is where the government is so far out of control. And, this is the way to put them back into their place or remove them. LAW!!

  • And you believe that why?||

    Off topic:

    I had hoped Reason would have something about the proposal to cut nicotine levels in half.

    My opinion is that this is a terrible idea. The problems with tobacco stem from tar. Smokers are addicted to nicotine. Cutting the nicotine in half will lead to smokers smoking more, increasing tar consumption. Is no one in our government capable of considering second order effects?

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