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Sessions Says He Is Sticking With His Predecessors' Tolerance of State-Legal Marijuana

The attorney general, who conceded that good people do smoke marijuana, gave no indication of an impending crackdown.

House Judiciary CommitteeHouse Judiciary CommitteeTestifying before the House Judiciary Committee today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that he is not abandoning his predecessors' policy of prosecutorial forbearance regarding state-licensed marijuana businesses. "Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally, as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes," Sessions said in response to a question from Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).

Sessions left unsaid another key aspect of that policy, which was outlined in a 2013 memo from Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Cole encouraged federal prosecutors to leave state-legal cannabusinesses alone unless they impinge on "federal law enforcement priorities" such as preventing underage consumption, interstate smuggling, and drugged driving or other "adverse public health consequences." While the Cole memo leaves a lot of leeway for an attorney general who wants to take a harder line on marijuana, Sessions so far has not taken advantage of it, and he gave no indication today that he plans to do so, notwithstanding his own strong anti-pot prejudices.

Speaking of which, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) noted that Sessions had "said at one time that 'good people don't smoke marijuana.'" Cohen listed a bunch of prominent Republicans who are known to have smoked marijuana, including John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Clarence Thomas. "Which of those are not good people?" Cohen asked.

In response, Sessions said his statement that "good people don't smoke marijuana," which he made during a Senate hearing last year, should not be interpreted to mean that good people don't smoke marijuana. He said he only meant that it is salutary for the youth of America to believe that good people don't smoke marijuana, even if it is not true, because that belief will discourage them from messing with the devil's weed. "The question was, what do you about drug use, the epidemic we're seeing in the country," he said. "Part of that is a cultural thing. I explained how, when I became United States attorney in 1981, and the drugs were being used widely, over a period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular, and people were seen, and it was seen as such, that good people didn't use marijuana. That was the context of that statement."

Cohen also got Sessions to concede that "marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin" and that he is bound to obey a spending rider approved by Congress that bars the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws, which federal courts have interpreted to mean that people cannot be prosecuted for actions that comply with those laws. This year Sessions urged legislators not to renew that rider.

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    I wonder is Trump will get credit for Sessions not being that bad.

  • Hugh Akston||

    All hail Trump for picking an AG who talks like a tuff guy but can't follow through!

  • John||

    The sad fact is, that makes the Trump DOJ the best DOJ in the last 70 or more years. Not saying that is good, but it is the truth.

  • Tony||

    You wouldn't know truth if it grabbed your vagina when you were 14.

  • damikesc||

    I'll bite: That has precisely what to do with Sessions continuing Lynch's policy of ignoring the issue?

    Mind you, this is the worst way to handle it. Either change the law or enforce the law. Actively ignoring it is a terrible, terrible idea.

  • xobofawa||

    I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

    This is what I do... www.netcash10.com

  • Robert||

    That'd be a good feature in state att'ys gen'l too, & in DAs. Seems they're always the ones making trouble. I think they're the worst at the state level.

    But yeah, as his 1st yr. in the office nears completion, seems the good things Trump's doing are still good, & the bad things people feared of a Trump admin. are not coming to pass. He's now a very strong contender to finish as best POTUS of my life (b. 1954).

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sessions needs to spend every spare second actively putting democrats in prison. So many easily provable major crimes those shitballs are guilty of.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    He doesn't appear to be doing anything.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's probably the best we can hope for from most government agencies.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that he is not abandoning his predecessors' policy of prosecutorial forbearance regarding state-licensed marijuana businesses.

    Seems like there was plenty of interference during the Obama administration's deferment approach.

  • Deven||

    My first thought, too. SMH.

  • SIV||

    Is this fake news? I have it on the reliable authority of the leading cosmotarian magazine that Hitler's Authoritarian Trump's Authoritarian AG Jeff Sessions was going to launch a scorched-earth revival of the War on Drugs that would make Nixon and Reagan look like Timothy Leary and Augustus Stanley Owsley.

    Now you're telling me he's no worse on the wacky terbacky issue than President Choom Gang's AG?

  • AndyWingall||

    I think the only thing fake is your brain, comrade.

  • Agammamon||

    Except that President Choom Gang's AG - both of them - were fucking horrible on the issue.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Good to here him stepping back a bit from earlier rhetoric on the subject.

  • SIV||



    Speaking of which, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) noted that Sessions had "said at one time that 'good people don't smoke marijuana.'" Cohen listed a bunch of prominent Republicans who are known to have smoked marijuana, including John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Clarence Thomas. "Which of those are not good people?" Cohen asked.

    The correct answer is all of them not named Clarence Thomas.

  • John||

    The hypocrisy on this issue is appalling. If they really considered doing drugs to be a bad thing, they would be angry when they found out some important person did drugs when they were young. They never are of course. Doing drugs is just a youthful indiscretion when they do it. It is a felony that ruins your life and possibly sends you to prison for years if a little person does it.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yes, "Freedom in Chains" author from way back when, James Bovard, documented this in detail. When the sons, daughters, favorite nieces, nephews, etc., of big-time drug-warrior politicians get caught with illegal drugs, they have just "fallen into bad company", and get their wrists slapped, at worst (sometimes not even that).

    When poor and / or black or brown or "illegal humans" get caught, it is off to the hoose-gow with them and their kind! No ifs, ands, or buts!!!

    It reminds me of the witch-hunts of old... "See, you're getting SOMETHING for all of your tax dollars... We are protecting ye from WITCHES!!!"

    And somehow, no one notices that the NOBILITY class-members are NEVER-EVER (or at least EXTREMELY rarely) accused of being witches!!!

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Dude, do you even eat cake?

    You guys don't know how to play the semantics game. Bill Clinton showed the way with "what is, is".

    All those people were BAD when they were smoking pot. But now they are not smoking pot, so they are GOOD. So, everything Sessions said is correct.

  • Rich||

    Sessions said his statement that "good people don't smoke marijuana," which he made during a Senate hearing last year, should not be interpreted to mean that good people don't smoke marijuana.

    What's *he* smoking?

  • SQRLSY One||

    He is smoking self-righteousness! IMHO, it is the very WORST of the inhumane vices!!!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Police power is a helluva drug

  • Jerryskids||

    "Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally, as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes,"

    And you think the little shitweasel doesn't mean by "is the same, really, fundamentally," something a normal non-ratfucker would call "completely different"?

  • Eidde||

    They need to acknowledge that the federal drug laws are unconstitutional and unratify the UN drug conventions. Let the states decides who gets to grow and sell what within their own boundaries.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    God, that would be amazing. Though it will never happen. Particularly, because declaring that drug laws are and were unconstitutional forces the government to deal with the fact that they have incarcerated millions of people unconstitutionally.

  • Eidde||

    To be fair, a lot of the federal convictions were for importing drugs from abroad, or operating drug rings of national scope.

    But even the limited measures I suggested will probably remain no more than a daydream.

  • nohakhan||

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    شركة تركيب ستائر بالرياض

  • nohakhan||

    Saudi Furniture Company

    When one of us thinks about moving to a new home, he looks like he is carrying his furniture and possessions on his back, thinking about how to move the furniture to the new place, the potential damage, the fear of precious possessions, sensitive parts and breakable objects, and the packaging, Has been solved with companies specializing in the transfer of furniture either to a new home or to storage until the completion of maintenance of the house or travel and so onشركة تنظيف مكيفات بالرياض
    شركة تركيب غرف نوم بالرياض

  • nohakhan||

    Saudi Furniture Company

    When one of us thinks about moving to a new home, he looks like he is carrying his furniture and possessions on his back, thinking about how to move the furniture to the new place, the potential damage, the fear of precious possessions, sensitive parts and breakable objects, and the packaging, Has been solved with companies specializing in the transfer of furniture either to a new home or to storage until the completion of maintenance of the house or travel and so on.شركة تركيب باركية بالرياض

  • Eidde||

    Does your "moving van" have humps?

  • Agammamon||

    No, but it does smell of fertilizer and diesel fuel.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Finally, someone has taken the time to explain to me the Moving Company concept. Thank you, Saudi Man, and so on.

  • Memory Hole||

    Yeah Sessions isn't as bad as I imagined he'd be so far.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Honestly, that's been my feeling on a lot of the Trump presidency. More boring than I would have expected too other than Trump being ineloquent.

  • Deven||

    His foreign policy seems more of the same intervention, but I suppose at least the people around him know how to achieve their stated objectives, which is a huge step up from any president since Reagan.

    His economic policy has been spot on, in my opinion. I hear a lot of people crying about trade, but the man is increasing free trade using bargaining chips, and not defending cronyism and dictatorships like so many "libertarians" do around here.

    I don't get the feeling he cares much about social issues, though he is definitely willing to score political points with them, he isn't really pushing any laws.

  • Juice||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Brave man, willing to take a swat at THE CLAW.

  • Deven||

    Man, Joe Biden is a super creep. I won't be surprised if he is the next to go down, though Hillary might be saving that for 2020 primaries.

  • AndyWingall||

    This will turn the Left against legalization quick, along with its increasing profit-driven commercialization.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You already can find a fair amount of articles that are disgusted with the increasing commercialization of weed growing operations. Which is, of course, rather strange.

  • Eidde||

    "It's, like, a plant that grows in the dirt, man. Who ever heard of charging money for a plant that grows in the dirt?"

  • kynodog||

    Colorado has received over $200M in tax revenues from marijuana so far this year from over $1B in sales. So my answer to your question would be "Colorado".

  • AndyWingall||

    A lot of pot is grown using hydroponics.

  • Duke of url||

    Could someone please explain what class of people are above/subject to the law, and what laws are enforced/ ignored and at what given time are they subject to change?

  • Mitsima||

    That would be convenient information to have now, wouldn't it?

  • Duke of url||

    I realize U.S. Constitution is not relevant to my question.

  • ignorance=bliss||

    Sessions is lying. Get a bunch of growers and distributors to relax and think all is well........

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