In another misguided move by Trump’s administration, AG Jeff Sessions ended an Obama-era policy that kept the feds out of the way of states legalizing marijuana.
It’s not news that, for surely some ridiculous reason, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a personal crusade against marijuana. He took things a dangerous step forward, however, when he declared an end to a rule President Barack Obama put in place, stating that there would be no interference with marijuana-friendly states on a federal level. While many states have legalized marijuana use, including California just this week, the drug is still illegal under federal law, which obviously has created a longstanding conflict between federal and state law.
The Obama-era policy, known as the “Cole memo” for then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole, put forth a hands-off policy for federal prosecutors in states that had decriminalized the use of weed for medical and recreational use. However, Jeff Sessions announced in a Jan. 4th 2018 memo that instructed “all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.
“It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” the Attorney General said in the memo. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”
Recreational marijuana use has been legal in seven states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine — and in the District of Columbia. There are also medical marijuana programs in 28 other states, according to NBC News.
The 71-year-old Jeff Sessions’ hatred for marijuana is well known. He was once accused of telling fellow lawmakers that he thought the Klu Klux Klan was okay “until I found out that they smoked pot.” He also went on record stating that he thinks marijuana is only slightly less horrible than heroin. “I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable,” Jeff said in March 2017, according to Time. “I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement https://t.co/tcNPpruHpp
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) January 4, 2018
So apparently Jeff Sessions only believes in States' Rights when it suits his purposes. Jeff Sessions shouldn't even be Attorney General. He lied during his confirmation hearings.
— Frank B. Chavez III (@Cacaoatl) January 4, 2018
Studies show medical cannabis helps reduce the use of opioids and other scheduled medications. Why would you take that option away from patients who can benefit?
— bubble"s mom (@njboundcarrie) January 4, 2018
The Attorney General’s claims were immediately denounced by actual experts. “The statement flies in the face of the science,” said Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco, told Time. “No one has died from an overdose of cannabis. There’s abundant evidence that it is a useful intervention for chronic pain, and we may see it’s useful in harm reduction.”
In Jan. 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a committee review of the health impacts of cannabis and found substantial evidence to suggest the drug can help people with people dealing with chronic pain – which could be an alternative to opioids. With today’s announcement, it seems that Sessions will not only set up a states vs. federal government showdown over drug laws, but he may also make the opioid crisis in America worse.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think about the Attorney General’s decision today.