AG Jeff Sessions Won’t Rule Out Using Mafia Law to Go After Legal Marijuana

By Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org (this article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.)

On conservative radio talker Hugh Hewitt’s program Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued to bad mouth marijuana and suggested he might use laws enacted to go after the Mafia against the legal marijuana industry.

(Photo: AP)

“I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize. I don’t think we’re going to be a better community if marijuana is sold in every corner grocery store,” the attorney general told Hewitt.

The conservative talker then helpfully suggested that one way Washington could go after legal pot was by bringing racketeering charges against marijuana businesses.

“One RICO prosecution against one marijuana retailer in one state that has so-called legalization ends this façade and this flaunting of the Supremacy Clause. Will you be bringing such a case?” Hewitt asked Sessions.
Sessions didn’t exactly jump on the idea, but neither did he reject it.

“We will um … marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws,” Sessions said in response. “So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide. It’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it.”

But Hewitt was not done chewing on that bone, asking Sessions if he couldn’t just make an example out of somebody.

“I mean, if you want to send that message, you can send it. Do you think you’re going to send it?” he asked.

Sessions had to clue in Hewitt about the difficulty of reining in the burgeoning the legal marijuana industry.

“Well, we’ll be evaluating how we want to handle that,” he said. “I think it’s a little more complicated than one RICO case, I’ve got to tell you. This, places like Colorado, it’s just sprung up a lot of different independent entities that are moving marijuana. And it’s also being moved interstate, not just in the home state,” he added.

Sessions has been a staunch foe of marijuana legalization, and the industry has been on tenterhooks since he was nominated as the nation’s highest law enforcement officer. He attempted to soft-shoe his views during his confirmation hearings, suggesting that he wasn’t going to aggressively go after the legal pot industry, but his comments with Hewitt suggest otherwise.

Taken together with a memo on violent crime Sessions sent to federal prosecutors Wednesday in which he hinted at at rolling back Obama Justice Department policies directing federal prosecutors to not always seek the most serious charges in drug cases and to avoid seeking mandatory minimum sentences, his comments to Hewitt Thursday suggest that the Trump administration is about to head resolutely backwards on drug policy in general and marijuana policy in particular.

Listen to the Hewitt interview below:

4 comments

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    • elelo on March 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm
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    One more thing let’s remember that Mr. Sessions has committed perjury. He has relations with a communist state and is being influenced by Vladimir Putin. There is no place in our democratic government for a traitor of this sort!

    • elelo on March 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm
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    Cannabis is no more harmful or addicting than a cup of coffee. Republicans want to enforce this law to fill the private prisons they are heavily invested in. The incarceration model broke more families and ruined more young lives that the worst of addicting drugs. Blaming a harmless herb on the opioid epidemic is just missing the people of the true problem, the problem that the pharmaceutical industry created with pain killers. If you are a heroine use or opioid user in general, you should be aware that you are putting your life in your own hand each time you use. Legal states have already proven that they have lower opioid use rates that non-legal states. The Trump administration has declared war on cannabis and on states rights. The federal government continues to encroach on states rights and personal freedoms. The revolution to defend your state needs to start now. Saddle-up pack your guns and be ready to defend your state.

    • Bud on March 11, 2017 at 2:21 am
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    I listened to it. Hewitt got his RICO idea shot down.

  1. It’s better than other drugs

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