Eric Holder: Attorney General Sessions “Almost Obsessed With Marijuana”

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director October 10, 2017
    Photo by Ryan Johnson

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder Photo by Ryan Johnson

    In recent remarks at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, former US Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about current Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ views on marijuana, saying “The Sessions almost obsession with marijuana I think is the thing that’s put the Justice Department in this strange place,” in regards to potential changes in current policy held up by what is known as The Cole Memo.

    Authored by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states, the memo directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

    Despite Holder’s comments, he took no action while he had the power as the Attorney General to deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

    Jeff Sessions has a long history of advocating for the failed policies of the “Just Say No” era — policies that resulted in the arrests of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens who possessed personal use amounts of marijuana.

    This comes as Congress is currently debating the extension of federal protections for the 30 state lawful medical marijuana programs and the 16 state lawful limited CBD access programs, know as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

    At a time when the majority of states now regulate marijuana use, and where six out of ten votes endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective to try to put this genie back in the bottle. It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.

    Take action to contact your federal lawmakers and urge them to support the descheduling of marijuana to prevent Jeff Sessions from implementing a crack-down on marijuana consumers. 

    82 responses to “Eric Holder: Attorney General Sessions “Almost Obsessed With Marijuana””

    1. Chris hansen says:

      Can Sessions please get a horrible case of cancer, loose massive amounts of weight and then get treated traditionally …all the while getting Zero access to marijuana! He deserves a hell like no other since he has placed so many in so many other hellish positions!

      • Evening Bud says:

        That would definitely be karma. Speaking of karma, it was fun watching the Keebler Elf squirming during the Senate hearings today. Kept talking about how “unfair” Franken’s characterizations were. The Elf flat-out lied during his confirmation hearing, and now protests at “unfair” characterizations. (Kinda like his unfair characterizations linking legalized pot to the opioid crisis.)

    2. Julian says:

      Ok, now that I vented, and since this blog does help educate people about the Cole memo which clearly the majority of Americans and marijuana activists either never read or understood, you all have every right to be angry at Obama for “not descheduling.”
      In fact as I looked back on old posts (for facts to burn ya’ll with… nothin personal, but research is what I do…) I ended up fact checking myself. I was reminded on a post from a couple years ago that I had a crescendo of hope Obama would deschedule during his lame duck session. Ahh.. such high hopes for a stoner activist.
      Is it me or does anything before Trump took office seem like a different century ago? I cant even watch a YouTube video from more than 8 months ago because I just get angry at people.,, “Look at all these stupid, innocent people!” (Self included). “What ignorant, ignorant bliss they live in.”
      I even knew about the voter caging in the Republican Crosscheck program and I still foolishly thought Hillary was gonna win. And look at me now? Yelling at my television is the new NORML.
      So who am I to chastize ya’ll for being angry at Obama for not descheduling marijuana? We’re all angry… but we just can’t allow our anger to impede our clinical judgement… or our ability to read and research facts like the Cole memo. Because without that… research… we’re not marijuana activists trying to educate and arm our Congress with wisdom… we’re just angry Trump Chumps.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        It’s a plausible proposition to argue that the Cole Memo represents the best that was politically possible at the time it was implemented, given the hostility the Republicans have to all things associated with President Obama. And we, the marijuana community, made astonishing progress under those terms. That makes President Obama a hero.

        And naturally, comparing anyone to Trump makes that person look like a saint in comparison. So fuck that jagoff.

        But we can all agree, I think, that we want and need more. We all just want marijuana legalized, so that we are no longer hanging by that thread, the Cole Memo, that President Obama so skillfully and strategically ran through the needle.

        • Julian says:

          Oh $#!+, here I go with 8 beers within two hours again… it’s like an episode of Drunken History… “The Cole Memos of Obama!” … just dont forget the other two branches of government on our side; the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment we need to use the Act button on this webpage to defend the legislative branch and donate to Democrats so more Democratic Federal Judges can make decisions like Barbuto vs. Advantage Sales & Marketing in the Judicial branch.

        • Julian says:

          I’ll give you this Dain Bramage… President Obama could have acknowledged the 2015 JAMA report that showed a reduction in opiate suicide and overdose in states with legalized marijuana instead of pretending not to know what was in the Marino Bill that he signed. Dems and Repubs alike are killing Americans for profit. At some point we have to ask ourselves if it’s not solely the consumer but our Politicians that have a responsibility for making deadly synthetics less available while whole plant medicine must be made more available.
          This is why I’m backing Beto O’rourke for Senate here in Texas. Until our candidates reject PAC money or reject $ Big Pharma we have no use for them because they will only vote to kill us for profit.

      • Anonymous says:


        The problem is that most Trump Chumps are still Trump Chumps, at least the ones I personally know. They always find a way to excuse every move he makes. Of course, very high on their excuse list, conveniently, is the “fake news” argument.

        I stopped being a fan of the American press decades ago, so I get that. But with them, NO facts can ever be believed, however factual.

        PS–tho I said all Trump Chumps are still “true believers,” I have to say that my Fox-watching mother-in-law has stopped defending The Prince of Orange.

    3. Holder had a narrow window of opportunity to push forth a much more progressive criminal justice reform platform; including, but not limited to, de-scheduling marijuana; and, exempting and sealing criminal history records from disclosure (to all but law enforcement and government agencies with a need-to-know) after a pre-determined amount of time has transpired (e.g., 3 years for misdemeanors, 10 years for felonies). Except for some palliative reforms seasoned with liberal (no pun intended) doses of lip service relative to sentencing, he actually accomplished very little that has had a lasting impact. Hence the void leprechaun boy a/k/a Bull-regard Sessions has filled to our collective dismay…

    4. Anonymous says:

      This needs to happen sooner rather then later . Narrow is the mind of Jeff sessions !!!! So many patients out there suffering because of one mans idiocracy !!

    5. This needs to happen sooner rather then later !! Patients should not be having to suffer because of one mans narrow minded idiocracy!!!

    6. Todd says:

      “Despite Holder’s comments, he took no action while he had the power as the Attorney General to de-schedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.”

      Abridged can mean “took no action while he had the power”. Congress shall make no law …abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (Amendment 1).

      Compulsory process means the opposite of “took no action while he had the power”. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right …to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (Amendment 6).

    7. dale says:

      we need get it we vote on it

    8. Julian says:

      The case of Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing has not received the attention of the full Supreme Court, as it was decided in an SJC court in Mass., but its ramifications on marijuana policy as it pertains to the Supremacy Clause and patient’s rights under drug test employment are profound.


      I was digging up this case to explain why President Obama may have hesitated on descheduling marijuana at the end of his term, which would have been overturned by the anti-Obama-in-Chief or even by the Supreme Court. (But then Obama was President of Harvard Law so what does he know?)
      Here is the recent decision from the court;

      “To declare an accommodation for medical marijuana to be per se unreasonable out of respect for the Federal law would not be respectful of the recognition of Massachusetts voters, shared by the legislatures or voters in the vast majority of States, that marijuana has an accepted medical use for some patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions.”

      In other words, the court decided that a majority of states with mmj law, and more specifically legislatively enacted law, trumps Trump and the Supremacy clause. The Cole memos and the Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment kinda seal the deal.

      But Massachussets legalized through voter initiative?

      One explanation is that the Mass legislature desperately wanted to amend or at least delay the initiative. Eventually an agreement was made legislatively… in other words, the state legislature was so desperate to curb legalization in Mass the prohibitionists didnt realize they were giving legalization exactly what we were missing… the judges recognized the legislative action as the missing ingredient to “supreme” the supremacy clause.
      And since this landmark decision didnt happen while Obama was in office, we oughtta thank him for not descheduling marijuana.

    9. Sandyheels says:

      But if marijuana has no medical benefits then why is big pharma making fake marijuana pills, like Marisol to mimic the medical benefits, if it has no medical benefit?!?!

    10. Jeff smith says:

      Grieving mother, so sorry for your loss. I have been involved smoking weed for 40 plus years, my family was in education and law enforcement, I guess you could say I was the other one.. diebeties killed my parents and all four my grandparents.. I was the other one. I have no trace of diebeties. Weed does not kill. I have smoked the gift of god for life.. sorry for your loss…. the other one

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