AG Jeff Sessions Asks Congress to Remove Federal Medical Marijuana Protections

According to a report by MassRoots’ Tom Angell, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent a letter asking members of Congress to undo protections that prevent the Department of Justice from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical use.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress 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,” Sessions wrote in the letter sent to Congressional leadership from both parties. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Sessions was referring to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, a provision initially passed during the Obama Administration that protects state-level medical cannabis programs from federal intrusion. The letter from Sessions was sent last month, and was obtained by MassRoots from a Congressional staffer.

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Jeff Sessions Studying Marijuana Enforcement Policies Through Task Force

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that a task force subcommittee will evaluate marijuana enforcement policies.

AG Jeff Sessions. (Photo: AP/Alex Brandon)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions today issued a memo to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads providing an update on the Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.

As part of that update, the Attorney General announced the creation of Task Force subcommittees that will focus on a variety of issues including “evaluating marijuana enforcement policy”. These subcommittees will also focus on; “developing violent crime reduction strategies, supporting prevention and re-entry efforts, updating charging and sentencing policies, reviewing asset forfeiture guidance; reducing illegal immigration and human trafficking” and “combating hate crimes”.

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Jeff Sessions Reassured Senators There Won’t be a Federal Crackdown on Marijuana

Politico has reported that Jeff Sessions has privately reassured several Senators that “he won’t deviate from an Obama-era policy of allowing states to implement their own marijuana laws.”

Jeff Sessions According to the report, “Sessions provided some private assurances to senators before he was confirmed that he was not considering a major shift in enforcement, despite his opposition to the use of marijuana.”

According to Senator Rand Paul (R); “He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things. And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not the [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention”.

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Jeff Sessions Use to Support Death Penalty for Marijuana Dealers

President Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has drawn widespread criticism, especially in the cannabis community. And for good reason: He once said he thought the KKK was “okay” until he learned they smoked marijuana, and he said not long ago that good people don’t use it.

What many people don’t realize, is that Sessions’ history on cannabis and drugs is much worse than that. In fact, just 20 years ago he was a public supporter of the death penalty for those caught dealing drugs twice, including marijuana.

Per The Conversation:

In 1996, when serving as Alabama’s attorney general, he promoted H.B. 242, S.B. 291, a state bill to establish mandatory death sentences for a second drug trafficking conviction, including for dealing marijuana.

The drug bill was advertised as targeting “kingpins,” but to qualify for execution, the defendant merely needed to lead a group of five people and make the minimum wage in drug proceeds. Alabama’s minimum wage was $4.25 per hour in 1996.

This is just one of many reasons why proponents of cannabis – and basic human rights – should vehemently oppose Sessions nomination (although it unfortunately may not matter, as a rejection of his nomination seems unlikely).