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Jeff Sessions: Wrong on Opioids and Violence, Considers RICO Lawsuits

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director March 10, 2017
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions Photo by Gage Skidmore

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
    Photo by Gage Skidmore

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt to discuss a range of issues, including how the Trump administration intends to address marijuana law enforcement in states that are regulating its adult use.

    During the interview, Hewitt repeatedly encourages Sessions to engage in federal prosecutions against state-licensed marijuana providers.

    Hugh Hewitt (HH): Let’s talk about the rule of law. I have a piece coming out in the Washington Post about this on Sunday, Attorney General Sessions. 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?

    Jeff Sessions (JS): We will — Um — Marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws. 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. And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. 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.

    HH: No, but it would literally take one racketeering influence corrupt organization prosecution to take all the money from one retailer, and the message would be sent. I mean, if you want to send that message, you can send it. Do you think you’re going to send it?

    JS: Well, we’ll be evaluating how we want to handle that. 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.

    HH: Yes.

    JS: And neighbors are complaining, and filed lawsuits against them. So it’s a serious matter, in my opinion. And I just came from a big rally in New Hampshire yesterday, Hugh. This is, this opioid problem is just huge. There were 9,000 high school and junior high school students there. A mother I met who had lost a son three months before, a child, and she said there were 50 more mothers there who’d lost children speaking to those kids. We’ve had this huge opioid surge in America, 120 people a day die from drug overdose. And I do believe, and the President has issued an order to the Department of Justice to crack down on drugs and these international cartels that are moving this Fentanyl that’s so deadly into our country. And we’re going to step up that in a very vigorous way as I talk to United States Attorneys yesterday by conference call.

    Predictably, Sessions’ responses — in particular his reaffirmation: “Marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws. So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide.” — follows the path laid out by The Heritage Foundation’s Cully Stimson, who on February 27th, released an 11-point plan on how to “provide a targeted approach to [federal] marijuana enforcement.” The Heritage Foundation proposal specifically calls for the Department of Justice to use RICO laws to target state-licensed marijuana businesses:

    1. Prosecute those dealing in marijuana—which is illegal under federal law—using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Those who engage in a pattern of racketeering activity through a corporation or other enterprise are liable for three times the economic harm they cause. RICO gives federal courts the power to order racketeering enterprises and their co-conspirators to cease their unlawful operations.

    The Attorney General also repeats two overt myths regarding cannabis, claiming that the enactment of marijuana regulatory schemes are somehow linked with violent crime and opioid abuse. As NORML recently points out in op-eds here and here, both of these claims are categorically untrue.

    At the end of the day, when the Attorney General of the United States publicly contemplates the federal prosecution of those in the adult use marijuana industry, we should take these threats seriously.

    That is why we need to continue to be proactive in pushing Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition and be ready to fight back at every level should Sessions follow through on his recent statements.

    Click here to tell your member of Congress and urge them to support HR 1227, the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.

    And click here to sign up as a NORML monthly supporter to make sure that we have the resources to support our chapters in the upcoming legal battles to protect the states that have legalized adult-use marijuana.

    Thanks for all you do and stay vigilant.

    73 Responses to “Jeff Sessions: Wrong on Opioids and Violence, Considers RICO Lawsuits”

    1. David says:

      I just wanna know what can we do do put a leash on this asshole? Guy is so ignorant

      • Julian says:

        Click on the links provided and contact your Congressman.
        CALL. 202-224-2131 Thats the Congressional switchboard. Its long past time for Congress to do their job and reform marijuana law. WE are the leash, and Congress is the loose animal.
        When thousands of veterans and civilians are dying from opioid abuse funded largely by legal predatory pharmaceutical companies like Insys Therapuetics (makers of fentanyl that Sessions presches against) …and study after peer reviewed study reveal that states that have legalized marijuana have reduced incidents of opioid addiction and overdose, we have to take AG Sessions lies as a serious attack on the lives of the American people. Call your Congressman every day.

      • Christopher Lee says:

        I don’t thinks we will have to worry to much about
        Jeffy boy!! He’s stumbling every where he goes..

    2. Susan Hudson says:

      U don’t know how so many of us don’t agree with u. The number one problem is alcohol which is legal. Every state makes a lot of money on alcohol. Please think about this, how many deaths r caused by drunk driving. But no one in Congress or the house of Representatives say anything about alcohol. Because u probably all have to drink to do what you do to us USA citizens. Now I agree we have problems with heroin, crack and abusing pain pills. But also about pain pills the people who need them can’t get them because they r selling them on the streets. Thank u for hearing me

    3. Cat Cassie says:

      Fox News has got to be the most freedom hating station on the air. And that little piss ant sessions, how is he still allowed to make decisions concerning the citizens of the US after lying under oath about his dealings with Russia? This is going to be a L O N G 4 years.

    4. TheOracle says:

      Here is another bunch of assholes who think they can arrest their way out of legalization. This is their smoke screen for stealing from the cannabis community, their cover for making a cash grab. Today the grumpy Trumpies are talking up the jobs report because it associates them with something good, while during the campaign Trump was talking shit about the numbers even as they continued to improve over the long term since 2009. What about cannabis jobs?

      The grumpy Trumpies are going to have to take the credit for putting people out of work, too. Then there’s cutting off the cannabis tax revenue stream, and skyrocketing criminal justice costs because these damn carpetbaggers would come in and cause damage to the communities and states where adult recreational is legal, and wherever else.

      Trumpies would rather build an effing wall with Mexico than legalize and keep the jobs and profits in the U.S. How the hell is that going to stop the demand in the U.S.? Stop people from making a healthier choice in cannabis over alcohol? There are some risks with cannabis, but not as bad as with alcohol. Must be their idea of foreign aid to Mexico to outsource supplying America’s demand for cannabis to south of the border, and then make it hard as hell for them to deliver the supply for the demand so that they buy weapons made in the U.S. Tragic, all the lost Mexican lives because of the drug war. Sad. It’s something to be avoided.

      Old guard drug warrior shit doomed to continue the costly failure of cannabis prohibition. Looks like the grumpy Trumpies want to start peeling away those in the cannabis community who were for Trump, however small or larger that may have been, you know, for cannabis votes who actually voted for him. Bye bye support.

      Give up on cannabis prohibition! It’s over! You lost! Stop ruining people’s lives! Respect people’s freedom and their votes to legalize! Repeal cannabis prohibition!

      • Norm says:

        If one takes a Hard , Honest look at the ??? Law regarding Hemp and Cannabis and what that ??? law was constructed with ! A Blind person could read and see the Misrepresentation by Government that Manufactured Law from Lies ! How came any one ? Justify the HARM Government has perpetrated upon the People with Governments Laws from Lies.

    5. Edward mixon says:

      republicans say they are all about giving back peoples freedoms and less government and all but still, they want to control every little thing we do like we are children. You need to wear a seat belt, a helmet on a motorcycle, and the list just goes on and on, like we can’t make an intelligent choice in matters concerning ourselves. I would clearly rather have someone smoke some marijuana and chill out,than to have some fool drinking, in a bar all day or at the beach or or his own back yard and then get into his boat/car/motorcycle and kill someone while he walks away and gets a slap on the wrist because alcohol is the drug of choice. It is the gateway drug. Almost all homes have it and that is one of the first things teens experiment with. want to end the war on drugs? bring back prohibition on alcohol. Marijuana was legal before and during alcohol prohibition, you see what the results have been, millions of deaths. perhaps we are smart enough to choose, not be dictated too like children by people who are out of touch and have their own personal agendas and are being paid by big pharma to keep it illegal.

    6. Rocky Coast says:

      NORML, if you’re so entwined with Democrats…how about you convince them to make this a priority, FOR ONCE? Dems have acted like cowards on marijuana.

      They prioritize whether someone can go pee in the ladies’ room or not…while Federal marijuana prohibition continues to create violence and erode our civil liberties.

      Dems are just as much to blame on this as GOP. It’s time for them to fight for us with as much passion as they fight for NON-CITIZENS.

      Sessions needs to be brought down. That sure as hell can’t be done strictly in the courts, or by schmoozing with politicians. It will take public support, and I’m not talking about financial donations. Civil disobedience is a must. This is your time to shine, NORML. Take advantage of it.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ Rocky Coast,

        Now just hold on for one second — it’s the Republicans who have the “pee-pee” obsession, from legislating where people piss in North Carolina, to Trump’s “golden showers” in Moscow. Don’t try to put that sick, childish shit on the Democrats!!

        Democrats can be comfortable with good American citizens, without peeking into their bedrooms and bathrooms. The political left simply accepts the biological reality that human sexuality is diverse. This is natural, and healthy.

        Repressed sexual obsession? That’s a Republican thing. Republicans don’t get good grades in biology and science. They ain’t so keen on “book learnin'”!!

        They’re only good at breaking things, and killing things, and ruining things. They like to hurt people. Republicans are cruel. They are sadists.

        Secondly, to your remark that the Democrats are just as much to blame for marijuana prohibition as Republicans: that’s just dumb. You “WON” (stole) the election, remember?

        Republican are in charge of White House, Congress, and Senate. They dominate on the state level. Everything that happens now with respect to ramping up the War On Drugs is ENTIRELY on the Republicans. And as the blog article above indicates, this is what Republicans love to do: fuck over cannabis consumers. And anyone else they can exploit.

        On a previous blog, I anticipated your line of attack on the Democrats, and as I said then: Republicans don’t get to blame Obama, or the Democrats in general, for FAILING TO PROTECT US FROM TRUMP. That’s some illogical bullshit.

        So get your facts straight before you go trashing the political left.

        • csaaphill says:

          Actually the Dems pissed over any chances they had under Obama. Pretty much any time under Obama they could of Removed it from the schedule one listing but never did bring it up or try.
          So no don’t go saying the dems are a bunch of angels for they aren’t.
          Yes Repubs usually side against legal weed, but after 08 they could of if they weren’t fucking busy infringing upon the second so much which is why lots of Us Libertarians who don’t side with either voted Trump and only then because mostly for two reasons the second amendment and the Supreme court, plus Trump did say he would leave it up to the states.
          So yes blame belongs as much with the dems as it does with the Repubs too.

          • Mark Mitcham says:

            @ csaaphill,

            I get the feeling you are the kind of individual whose loyalties go to deeper principles than “Red Team” or “Blue Team.” This isn’t a high-school basketball game, with nothing on the line except bragging rights. American lives are at stake here. So I am hoping you will understand when I say: I’m not pro-Democrat; I’m just anti-Republican.

            I never said Democrats are “angels!” My point was, and is, this: The marijuana legalization movement made unprecedented, historical gains under the Obama administration. Anyone who can’t see that isn’t trying. And we were on track for even more gains, having DOUBLED the number of legal states during the 2016 election. Regardless of what you think of Obama personally, we were making really good progress under President Obama — far better progress than we would have made if we had elected a Romney (R) or a McCain (R). If Obama was a drug warrior, he was a shitty one, and that was extremely good for us. We were lucky to have him.

            Democrats are no angels, but next to Republicans, they look like motherfucking saints.

            Now, you admit Republicans “usually side against legal weed.” Thank you for being honest about that. And, yes, Libertarians voted for Trump; and in so doing, fucked themselves real good. I think you get that, too.

            “Trump did say he would leave it up to the states.” But Trump’s a fucking liar, so that means nothing. Now he’s coming after us.

            So, NO. Blame does NOT belong “as much with the dems as it does with the Repubs too.”

            Listen: Republicans do not get to blame Democrats for not doing more to protect us from Trump! That’s illogical bullshit.

            News Flash: The Obama administration is over. The Republicans own Trump’s evil, and they will all go down in history together as criminals and traitors for being the white supremacist, fascist authoritarian Russian tools that they are.

          • Julian says:

            You are incorrect. You are spewing out the ol false equivalency poison when the plain facts are listed right here on this website:

            http://www.norml.org/congressional-scorecard

            Place blame where blame is due. Representative Debbie Washmoney Shultz D-FL is a prohibitionist because she takes pharmaceutical stocks and an offshore tax haven from Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company that produces a pill for diabetes that causes cancer.
            My Republican state Representative Jason Isaac is leading the way cosponsoring decriminalization and medical marijuana in the state of Texas.
            But to make the baseless claim that Dems are “just as bad” as Republicans when it comes to prohibition deserves the liar, liar pants on fire award. Read the scorecard. Read the intro. Thems are facts.

            Trump, Sessions and a Republican controlled Congress are waging Drug War III to profit off of overdosing Americans… specifically targeting their own voting constituents… with opiates:

            http://www.alternet.org/drugs/bernie-sanders-west-virginia-visit?akid=15296.2366751.Z4HX9h&rd=1&src=newsletter1073850&t=10

            The least you could do is acknowledge the truth. As the article above suggests, the truth can give you purpose which can free you from addiction to lies and misinformation.

          • Evening Bud says:

            Once again, we’re subjected to the “false equivalency” argument.

            csaaphill, apparently you haven’t been following the recent conversations about the congress during Obama’s presidency. The Dems controlled the House for 2 years of it, and the GOP controlled the House for Obama’s last 6 years.

            The Dems are hardly angels when it comes to many issues, but you are being disingenuous when you imply that the two main parties are the same regarding legalization.

            Trump, like many other GOPers, believes in states’ rights, except when they don’t. The ONLY thing I’ve ever heard Trump say about Recreational Legalization is that “it’s a problem.”

            If you’ve heard him say something else, by all means share it. As matters stand, all I’ve heard is threats from Spicer.

            Trump’s “feelings” on the matter, or those of anyone else don’t mean shit.

      • Four More Years says:

        Totally false, The Republicans are always worse on weed,, if sometimes only slightly like under Clinton or like now under the Orange Fuhrer.. Republicans or Weed make a choice…
        Oh by the way on another topic,,
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/03/11/employees-who-decline-genetic-testing-could-face-penalities-under-proposed-bill/?utm_term=.eaca3ac30887

    7. Junglist says:

      That’s funny. Hightimes.com had a very different story about Sessions yesterday. They claimed he was backing off due to several senators (including republican ones) putting pressure on him.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Jeff Sessions: “Marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws. So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide.”

        Does that sound like “backing off” to you?

      • Four More Years says:

        That must by why he’s replacing ALL the current US Attorneys,,, because he’s going to legalize weed… pass the bong will ya..

    8. Anonymous says:

      “…these international cartels that are moving this Fentanyl that’s so deadly into our country.” International cartels aka Pharmaceutical companies.

      • Julian says:

        Which is sad because Insys Therapuetics, which shut down marijuana legalization for Arizona, legally produces fentanyl to legally treat cancer symptoms (NOT necessary) when the peer reviewed evidence shows that marijuana treats both cancer and opiate addiction.

        The link from Big Pharma to Sessions?

        https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2016&cid=N00003062&type=I&newmem=N

        As Senator of Alabama Sessions accepted decades of sustained donations from HealthSouth Corp which spun off into the Birmingham based Medpartners Inc., which purchased what is known today as CVS Caremark, a physician practice management (PPM) company.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CVS_Caremark

        Today the company is one of the nation’s leading pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies, provides comprehensive prescription benefit management services to over 2,000 health plans, including corporations, managed care organizations, insurance companies, unions and government entities. With net revenue of approximately $37 billion (including approximately $5.8 billion of retail copayments) in 2006, they are also one of the largest PBMs.

        But campaign donations don’t reveal the whole scope of how these companies purchase our Congressman. Big Pharma companies outsource so they don’t pay taxes then offer special tax-free stocks to our Congressman as offshore tax havens. If Sessions is a secret shareholder of HealthSouth how would we know he’s profiting from opiate addiction? We wouldn’t.
        But what we do know is that as US Attorney, Senator of Alabama and now USAG, Sessions stands to keep a lot of bad guys like HealthSouth from losing big in court for fraud and predatory opiate prescriptions.

        To be continued…

      • Julian says:

        The first of HealthSouth’s accounting problems surfaced in late 2002 after CEO Richard M. Scrushy sold $75 million in stock several days before the company posted a large loss. In 1998, HealthSouth was accused of violation of the Securities Exchange Act by failing to disclose negative trends and misrepresenting company’s financial information. But the shareholder’s come out clean?

        That’s when I dug up this gem:

        http://www.gadsdentimes.com/news/20160519/etowah-jury-returns-20-million-verdict-in-medical-malpractice-case

        HealthSouth is caught profitting from overdosing opiates to their patients.

        “The jury found that a Calhoun County woman received an overdose of unprescribed opiates while she was a patient at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital. According to the complaint against HealthSouth, Doris Green’s neurological and cognitive abilities remained impaired from the time of the overdose July 5, 2011, and she ultimately died Oct. 22, 2011.”

        And it gets worse:

        http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2017/at-least-one-third-of-attorney-general-nominees-top-donors-have-matters-involving-doj.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

        American Hospital Association (Donated $17,200 to Sessions): The DOJ recently intervened in a case against AHA member Prime Healthcare, which has been accused of defrauding Medicare by improperly admitting patients to hospitals from Emergency Rooms.

        CVS/Caremark (Remember them?): In October 2016, CVS subsidiary Omnicare agreed to pay $28 million to settle a False Claims Act case regarding kickbacks from a drug manufacturer. Other aspects of the settlement may require ongoing verification and oversight by the DOJ in the coming months or years. And now Sessions is USAG? What a coincidence!

        I really could go on, but I think we all get the picture. The same vulture companies that are killing Americans for profit with opiate addiction and fraud put Sessions in power as USAG.

      • Julian says:

        Now we have all the evidence that Sessions must recuse himself from every case involving opiate addiction and marijuana, including any fraudulent claims he initiates from RICO: (And PLEASE use these links when clicking on the Act Tab and writing your Congressman):

        http://blog.norml.org/2014/08/25/jama-medical-cannabis-states-possess-lower-rates-of-opiate-induced-fatalities/

        http://norml.org/news/2016/04/28/study-opioid-abuse-rates-lower-in-medical-cannabis-states

        USAG Sessions is now bound by DOJ Regulations, including one relating to recusals due to personal or political relationships:

        28 CFR §45.2 Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship.

        But this provision requires a whistleblower from within Trump’s leaky cabinet. (Hint: offer them a book deal and air time and they’ll all squeal like pigs to slaughter). Even then, it does not appear that relationships with campaign contributors would be considered a “political relationship” under this provision to Federal Judges and prosecutors that are quickly being replaced by Trump.

        So POGO suggests the following:

        “First, Senator Sessions could commit to a bright-line rule where he will recuse himself from any matter involving a donor. from the last two years or any donor who gave more than $5,000 in the last decade.

        Second, Senator Sessions could commit to an independent written and public review of this matter by DOJ’s Ethics Office and the Office of the Inspector General. He would then take action publicly in accordance with that review and recuse himself (or not) based upon the report’s recommendation.”

        But he didn’t do that.

        And to that, I think we can all say, “Independent 3-judge panel and independent prosecutor.” After all, that was the Republican suggestion for Hillary wasn’t it?

      • Julian says:

        Holy f*ck, I thought I was done with the research. (That’ll never happen).

        I just researched the link where
        “CVS subsidiary Omnicare agreed to pay $28 million to settle a False Claims Act case regarding kickbacks from a drug manufacturer.”

        The drug manufacturer?

        https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/nation-s-largest-nursing-home-pharmacy-pay-over-28-million-settle-kickback-allegations

        Abbott Laboratories.

        The drug they kickbacked (hence, donated to Sessions) for?

        Depakote

        Depakote is a potentially fatal drug legally prescribed to treat seizure disorders, certain psychiatric conditions (manic phase of bipolar disorder), and to prevent migraine headaches, all with side effects that safe and effective treatment from whole plant marijuana does NOT have. Unfortunately, one of depakote’s side effects is that it destroys the liver.

        http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1788/depakote-oral/details

        Another side effect of depacote’s predatory and profitable prescription is that it can get parasites like Jeff Sessions confirmed as United States Attorney General.

        So even though we have FDA approved cannabis extracts preparing to distribute to the American public, and even though the evidence is clear that whole plant cannabis mitigates the symptoms of seizures and epilepsy

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27568641

        AG Sessions escalates the drug war on children with severe epilepsy by fraudulently protecting his donors by going to war with marijuana, the most effective and safest treatment for seizures we have available.

        Can we use THAT in court?

        • Evening Bud says:

          Julian,

          It’s amazing (disturbing) how one can of worms almost always seems to lead to another.

          When you start to google Trump and his connections, donors, etc, you get the same type of crap. One bowl of slime invariably leads to another. I was actually holding off on the criticisms involving Trump and Russia, but it’s getting harder and harder to ignore that. There’s something going on there, and I think a lot of Trump supporters would agree if they were being honest.

          Regarding Trump and recreational legalization–he of course remains mum on the subject, which is kinda puzzling given his penchant for tweeting about everything (batshit crazy or not) at 5 a.m.

          Maybe one of his supporters could send him an email, asking him to skip SNL for one night so he could address the recreational legalization issue.

          • Julian says:

            The short answer to my research on Trump and Russia is that, clearly, Trump made a deal with Russia. Russian oligarchs need to launder money around US sanctions and Trump and his son-in-law are always looking for tax-evadings schemes to launder through their real estate empire. Why else would a money-laundering oligarch like Dimitry Ryoblovlev give Trump $100 million for a house in Florida assessed for less than half that value? It was illegal then and its an emolument now. Trump and Sessions will always place profit before people. Just look at Sessions blaming marijuana legalization for an opiate epidemic he’s been profiting from since before CVS bought SouthHealth. Its treason and Trump just looks the other way as he poisons his own supporters. At least Sanders is bringing the truth to pill-town:

            http://www.alternet.org/drugs/bernie-sanders-west-virginia-visit?akid=15296.2366751.Z4HX9h&rd=1&src=newsletter1073850&t=10

            The real question is now that Sessions recused himself from the investigations will Trump supporters do what is right for our country and demand an independent prosecutor and a three-judge panel to investigate Trump and his whole treasonous cabinet?

    9. Dr. Phobic says:

      LEGALIZE…”THE HERB OF PEACE, HEALING AND UNDERSTANDING”

    10. Rock Stone says:

      this is when the house of cards that Trump is built on will start to fall, taking freedom and disregarding the peoples will won’t be tolerated!

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