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House Judiciary Democrats Call For Marijuana Hearing

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director February 7, 2018

    On February 7th, Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), requesting a hearing on the recent revocation of the Cole Memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    The Cole Memo, was a Justice Department memorandum, authored by former US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states, directing 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.

    In their letter, the Democrats wrote:

    “We fear that the elimination of the Obama Administration’s marijuana enforcement guidance will promote an inefficient use of limited taxpayer resources and subvert the will of voters who have clearly indicated a preference for legalized marijuana in their states.”

    Rep. Goodlatte has refused to hold a hearing on marijuana since he took over as the Chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, where any serious reform legislation would originate.

    Recently, Congressman Jerry Nadler was elected by his colleagues to be the ranking member of the minority party on the committee. Rep. Nadler has earned an “A+” rating on the NORML Scorecard for his support of ending the federal prohibition of marijuana, positive votes when given the opportunity, and his co-sponsorship of legislation including the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act in the previous session of Congress.

    The current Chairman of the committee is Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), a longtime opponent of marijuana reform who has earned a “D” on the NORML scorecard for voting against reform amendments when given the opportunity. However, Rep. Goodlatte had announced earlier this year that he will not be running for reelection, which will leave a wide-open race on the Republican side who will be the top member in the next Congress.

    Given the political climate, in order to secure hearings on legislation that would end prohibition, it is essential that the next Chairman of the Judiciary be willing to address the issue.

    In the meantime, we simply will have to wait and see how Rep. Goodlatte responds.

    You can reach Congressman Goodlattes DC office by phone at: (202) 225-5431. If you call his office, let us know what his staff said in the comments below.

    Here is the full letter by the Judiciary Democrats:


    The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
    Chairman
    House Committee on the Judiciary
    2138 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Dear Chairman Goodlatte:

    We are deeply concerned by the recent action by Attorney General Sessions rescinding Department of Justice (DOJ) marijuana enforcement guidance issued during the Obama Administration.  We write to request a hearing of the full Judiciary Committee regarding this decision.

    On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Sessions issued a memorandum to U.S. Attorneys eliminating marijuana enforcement priorities set forth under President Obama.  Previous memoranda issued during the Obama Administration, such as the memorandum issued in 2013 by then Deputy Attorney General James Cole (Cole Memo), made clear the considerations the federal government should use when deciding to prosecute violations of the Controlled Substances Act related to marijuana. Rather than targeting individuals in states that had legalized marijuana and consequently set up complex regulatory systems, the government focused on priorities that were significant to the federal government. These included preventing gangs and cartels from profiting from marijuana sales and ensuring that state-authorized marijuana was not used to hide other illegal activities.

    We fear that the elimination of the Obama Administration’s marijuana enforcement guidance will promote an inefficient use of limited taxpayer resources and subvert the will of voters who have clearly indicated a preference for legalized marijuana in their states.  Further, the January 4 memorandum by Attorney General Sessions fails to provide any evidence that prosecuting marijuana in states where it has been legalized will make Americans safer.  DOJ should instead pursue enforcement strategies that are sensible, effective, and enhance public safety, and the Judiciary Committee should be included in these discussions.

    The Judiciary Committee has a fundamental duty to conduct oversight on the Department of Justice.  It is critical that the members of our committee have an opportunity to ask questions about this recent rescission in a formal setting and evaluate potential legislation related to marijuana. Therefore, we respectfully request a hearing by the full Committee on these issues.

    Sincerely,

    Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
    Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
    Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
    Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
    Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA)
    Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
    Representative David Cicilline (D-RI)
    Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
    Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA)
    Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
    Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)

    58 responses to “House Judiciary Democrats Call For Marijuana Hearing”

    1. Todd says:

      Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (Amendment 1), yet Rep. Goodlatte has refused to hold a hearing on marijuana since he took over as the Chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, where any serious reform legislation would originate.

      In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (Amendment 6), yet the elimination of the Obama Administration’s marijuana enforcement guidance will … subvert the will of voters who have clearly indicated a preference for legalized marijuana in their states. Further … Attorney General Sessions fails to provide any evidence that prosecuting marijuana in states where it has been legalized will make Americans safer.

    2. Sean says:

      Jeff Bogart Sessions should be in jail for perjury. We have a criminal parading as a US Attorney General and threatening to wage a more aggressive war against cannabis. This criminal says that good people don’t use marijuana. Deplorables argue that Sessions can’t enforce the laws he wants. I would counter argue that we can’t have a criminal enforcing the laws of the United States.

    3. Todd says:

      So our A.G. cares more about his greedy capitalistic agenda with big pharma than he does the actual wellbeing of the American people he is supposed to be serving. He also enjoys arresting impoverished minorities on simple possession to keep the contracted prison system filled with inmates who could never afford a good attorney, to keep the poor man down. Our present A.G. is acting selfishly and disgracefully, and by his own actions would rather worry about keeping his job than to have a conscience that ensures safe medical and recreational resources stay in place. What happened to “of the people, by the people, for the people?”

    4. SCOTT BELCHER says:

      WHEN ARE THE GREEDY,SELF SERVING BUMBLING REPULICANS GOING TO WORK FOR THE PEOPLE THAT ELECTED THEM?, INSTEAD OF SHELDING THE IDIOT WANNA BE DICTATOR WE HAVE FOR PRESIDENT?….NO WONDER WE CAN’T GET ANYTING DONE IN CONGRESS!THE PEOPLE THAT VOTED FOR YOU ALSO VOTED FOR LEGALIZING MARIJUANA. 70% OF THE NATIONAL VOTES TO LEGALIZE WERE 70% REPUBLICANS!!..IMAGINE THAT!…YET WE HAVE AN OPIOD EMPIDEMIC THATS KILLING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE A DAY,AND REPUBLICANS ARE SIDING WITH THE BIG PHARMA AND STILL GETTING KICKBACKS TO KEEP THE EPIDEMIC GOING WHILE NOT TAKING RESPONSIBLILTY FOR LOST LIVES!…MARIJUANA HAS BEEN PROVEN TO HELP PEOPLE GET OFF OPIODS, THUS SAVING ANOTHER LIFE!…MANY OF THESE UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE ARE OUR VETS!!FOR GOD’S SAKE THESE VETS GAVE THEIR LIFE FIGHTING FOR US. AND WE CAN’T DO SOMETHING FOR THEM TO HELP THEM LIVE BETTER LIVES!?
      EVERYONE NEED TO VOTE THESE OLD DUMB FUCKS OUT OF OFFICE AND GET SOMEONE IN OFFICE THAT WILL ACTUALLY WORK FOR THE PEOPLE THAT VOTED THEM IN!!!

    5. dissapointed by dems says:

      re; Mark Mitcham;

      1. i am not a reppie.
      they REALLY suck.
      my brother is one.
      he REALLY sucks.

      if the dems were really on the side of the working man,
      (as they claim to be,)
      THEN, i would be a dem.
      (also, they would win EVERY election, with a landslide victory,
      because there are WAY more workers, then bosses)

      BUT, they are not,
      so i am not a dem.

      2. do we have to be as overpopulated as india is,
      before we wake up ???

      3. look at how blacks are treated here;
      how the mexicans are treated;
      how the american indians are treated;
      (like shit)

      and then, tell me why many whites,
      including you, Mark Mitcham,
      are SO EAGER,
      to VOLUNTARY become a minority,
      so that we can be treated like shit, by them,
      when they are the majority.

      (which is a CERTAINTY,
      if current trends continue,
      JUST FROM THE (non-white) PEOPLE that are ALLREADY HERE, having WAY more kids, then whites do.)

      this has NOTHING to do with hatred or racism,
      it is just fact;
      people like to be, with their own kind;

      i have cubans, and mexicans, living on my street.
      they look EXACTLY THE SAME to me.
      they both speak spanish.
      BUT;
      they will not have ANYTHING to do with each other.
      EACH TREATS THE OTHER, like they are not there.

      people like to be with their own kind.
      the “melting pot” idea was, and still is, ‘politically correct’ B.S.

      do italians go out of their way to hang out with the irish ???
      no.
      but, they are both white,
      both speak english,
      both have been here for about 100 years.
      no “melting pot” effect, has occured.

      4. reppies are against dreamers,
      but they LOVE exploiting workers,
      ESPECIALLY the illegal ones.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ dissapointed,
        You are a white supremacist, as your own words illustrate. I find your views repugnant.

        You may not call yourself a Republican, but you certainly fit right in, given your white supremacist agenda! I think you are a hard-core racist Trump supporter.

        That makes you a fucking Nazi, too, by the way. And a traitor. And a he-man woman hater. And a bigot… And on and on and on… All the shitty things Trump has said and done, and you Republicans just can’t stop licking his feet, it is truly disgusting to witness.

        But, here’s my question: what are you when you step into the voting booth?

        And, here’s my offer: swear to me that you will never vote Republican ever again, and I will stop calling you a Nazi and a jackass and a Republican.

        (Not that I owe you or your fascist, pussy-grabbing, shit-hole President a goddamn thing.)

      • Julian says:

        If you, disappointedbydems, were really for marijuana legalization you wouldnt be derailing our conversation, but elevating it by tapping on the ACT tab and contacting your Congressman.

        The enemy here is the hamartia of your own participation in the legislative process. Stop whining and click on the ACT tab!

        http://www.norml.org/act

        • Julian says:

          Notice how the trolls always come out when the title or header has a pic or a mention of Sessions in it?

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Yeah. I think these trolls are trying to paint Trump as the “good cop,” by painting Sessions as the “bad cop.” But Trump is no better than Sessions.

            Trump nominated Sessions, and Republican Senators confirmed him. That was no accident.

            They’re all cut from the same white hooded sheets.

    6. John Alexander says:

      Man, you bunch of liberals and left wing conspiracy theorists are humorous. Listen, I am a conservative (republican identifier) with a wife who happens to have cancer. I am not anti-marijuana, in fact I am pro and will forever be. I saw first hand the results of Simpson oil. Now you can all go about calling this a Russia BS made up conspiracy, or you can put on your big boy/girl pants, come together and form a voice as the people and work together (because that is not what they want, and they wouldn’t know what to do when we are not fighting and wearing vagina hats). You want to get this solved, me 2 and a whole bunch of other republicans. You hate sessions, guess what, me 2… You think this is BS -Yeah me 2… But you Buch of people are too busy trying to make problems instead of working together.. Stop being so damn ignorant, and lets get this shit done. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, woman, man, xgender, or whatever… This shit needs to change, we need to change it and damn quickly. I don’t care who is in office, its all the same shit….. Join together and get over the stupidity already. They are playing us against each other.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        @ John Alexander,
        Boy, get it through your thick skull: it is way too fucking late for bipartisanship. The Republicans (that’s you) have made their deal with the devil, and now the Republicans (that’s you) must pay the price.

        Fuck off.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        @ John Alexander,
        You have a choice: 1) you can change your party affiliation to Independent or Democrat; or, 2) you can rot in hell with Trump and the rest of his lickspittle Republicans.

        I don’t give a fuck which one you choose. But the goddamn Republicans, by way of their total embrace of Trump, have waived all right to be treated with respect. You racist shits will get no cover from me.

        Now, I said, fuck off!!

      • Julian says:

        Very well, click here:

        http://www.norml.org/act

        And please share with us your state legislature and federal response from Congress.

      • Sean says:

        John Alexander, thank you for your sage advice (not). Now go fuck yourself you quisling.

    7. dinos are worse than reppies says:

      re; Dain Bramage;
      (there is so much truth in your name)

      1. Bernie, had REAL, GRASSROOT support.

      2. only 20 % of ELIGIBLE voters vote dem.

      only 20 % of ELIGIBLE voters vote reppie.

      60 % of ELIGIBLE voters HATE BOTH PARTIES,
      and DO NOT vote.
      (some, like me, vote 3rd party, but not enough to make a difference in a system heavily rigged in favor of the major parties.)

      3. re; Hillary isn’t running for office. She no longer holds a public office.

      SO WHAT ???
      i didn’t say ‘lock her up’, even though she surely earned it.

      all i said about her was;
      “she never promised ANYTHING to working class peole, or to the marijuana legalization movement.
      THAT, is why she lost.”

      Bernie did, that was his entire platform, and he would have won, but for being sabotaged by the DNC and MSM.

      re; She is a private citizen.

      SO WHAT ???
      so are the koch brothers, soros, rupert murdock, and henry kissinger, just to name a few famous ones.
      you do not need to be IN gov’t,
      to have MASSIVE political influence over it.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        @ dinos,
        Stop wasting my time with bullshit. I, for one, am a part of The Resistance, and proud of it!

        Join us! Get on the big blue wave, and vote Democratic on Election Day, in order to punish Trump!

        It’s the only way.

        Or maybe you don’t think Trump deserves punishment? Well, that fucking figures!

      • Julian says:

        I’m sorry, you must be lost. This is not the Yahoo comment section. This is the blog for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. We’re trying to keep sick people out of jail and off the meds…
        …but heey… if you like… you can click on this ACT tab… http://www.norml.org/act …then smoke or vaporize a bowl of mj… or use a suppository… whatever floats your boat. Then come back if you would like to share your Congressional response to your letter, some epiphany you encountered about participating in the legislative process or something “marijuana reform” related.

    8. Wendy Rush says:

      Most cannabis “only” federal raids are non-violent and generally peaceful, so it’s an easy score for the feds.
      It’s can be scary, an accidental firearm may engage and accidentally injure. However, the unjust go for quota if arrests aren’t high enough or an auction is desired to fund whatever (??!!??). The Feds,so-called “score” should not use resources in States that have a cannabis policy. Injustice must end and the seizure from families, taking away their American Dream, to heal, to mend, to work hard and serve a purpose and excel at best, to spread and have peace within and even be without pain, to accept and alliw healing.
      Please keep state laws as they are. Any adversity of the law, e.g gangs, cartels, underground and non-tax schemes shoukd be dealt with as criminals, a their intent is non-law abiding and unacceptable.

    9. August Williams says:

      Can anybody tell me what schedule of drugs aspirin is on I can tell you none aspirin has been used widely way before the FDA or the DEA or ever formed that’s why they have no say over it just like cannibas that’s what we have to take are lawsuits to cannibas the word from ancient times so used to transport ships full of cannabis all over world cannibas everyone knows that word that’s why Harry anslinger had to invent a word marijuana because if he said cannibas prohibition people would have thought he was talking out his ass so he invented the word marijuana in 1936 to scare people about blacks and Mexicans they smoke that marijuana and they will rape your white daughters and wives

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