So We Have Attorney General Sessions – What’s Next For Marijuana?

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director February 11, 2017
    Photo by Gage Skidmore

    Photo by Gage Skidmore

    Despite historic opposition, members of the United States Senate voted 52 to 47 last week to approve the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General.

    NORML thanks the tens of thousands of you who responded to our action alerts opposing this nomination and the thousands more who took time to make phone calls. While we are disappointed with this outcome, we are pleased that several members of Congress cited the senator’s opposition to marijuana policy reform as an impetus for rejecting his appointment.

    We’ve previously told you why Jeff Sessions is the wrong man for the job, but today it is time to move forward, not backward.

    So now what?

    Well, during his testimony before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Sen. Sessions said that it is not the responsibility of the Attorney General to pick and choose which federal laws to enforce. “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act,” he said. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

    He’s right. It is time we demand Congress to change the rules once and for all.

    arrestedJust hours prior to Sessions’ confirmation vote, US Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, introduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

    HR 975 states, ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

    Passage of this Act would halt US Attorney General Jeff Sessions or any other federal official from prosecuting individuals and businesses for violating the Controlled Substances Act in the 29 states that permit either the medical or adult use and distribution of marijuana. According to national polling, 60 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

    take_actionClick here to send your member of Congress a message urging them to support HR 975.

    With the appointment of Sen. Sessions to the position of US Attorney General, passage of this Act is necessary to ensure that medical marijuana patients and others are protected from undue federal interference.

    There will be a number of bills in the coming months that will build upon the progress that the movement to legalize marijuana will support. As we always have, NORML will keep you informed and provide you the tools needed to connect with your elected officials.


    Please take action today to urge your federal lawmakers to support HR 975, the ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ and when you have finished, please also take a moment to make a generous and much appreciated donation to NORML here so that we can continue to make progress in our federal and statewide efforts.

    With NORML members throughout the country organizing lobby days and taking action over the coming days and weeks, the fight for cannabis freedom will continue with renewed energy.

    NORML has resisted marijuana prohibition for 47 years – We’re not going to stop now; in fact, we’re just getting started. Are you in?

    82 responses to “So We Have Attorney General Sessions – What’s Next For Marijuana?”

    1. Mark Malone says:

      “It is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

      Um, YES it is. it is the duty of law enforcement to decline to enforce unjust laws.

      • Anonymous says:

        No,, Actually Sessions is right on that one..

      • MSimon says:

        And if Obama had done his job properly the law wouldn’t even be on the books with respect to cannabis.

        Schedule 3, 4, 5 or off Schedule totally.

        Sessions is not the problem. Obama knifed us in the back. Funny how so few around here have noticed that.

        And Hillary? Well she did promise Schedule 2. And she favored a “path”. Why not just fix the durn law? That is something the President is actually authorized to do.

        So what is to be done? Trump is a populist. If we change the minds of his supporters he will follow. I’m working on it.



        • Olinick1@yahoo.com says:

          Please, stop. Youre embarrassing yourself.
          1). It is the job of CONGRESS to deschedule marijuana.
          2). If you paid any attention to any of the executive orders Trump recently signed, he is starting Drug War III, blaming drugs and Mexicans on our socioeconomic instability caused by our own bad drug policies.
          3). If it werent for President Obama signing the Cole memos to the DOJ we would not have a legal state cannabis market for you to get your facts all fucked up about.

          • MSimon says:

            If you had read the CSA you would know that the President can change the status of cannabis.

            You have read it. Haven’t you?

            But OK. Suppose only Congress can do it. Please explain why when Obama was President and Democrats controlled Congress – nothing was done?

            They are double crossers. Maybe they are all in on The Trillion Dollar A Year Scam


            BTW that is something I wrote for a right wing site on the Drug War. What are you doing to change minds on the right?

            • Evening Bud says:


              You’re rich! Let’s see, how’d you put it:

              “But OK. Suppose only Congress can do it. Please explain why when Obama was President and Democrats controlled Congress – nothing was done?”

              You DO know that the GOP controlled the House in 6 of Obama’s 8 years, right? And the GOP has controlled the Senate since ’14. So, I’ll throw your question back to you–why hasn’t the GOP congress done anything to advance legalization??

        • Anonymous says:

          Congress changes the law, not the President..
          And congress was controlled by which party,, the party of Trump… The Party of Trump, hang it around their necks like a necktie..

        • Mark Mitcham says:


          Oh, you fucked up when you dragged me into this, you obtuse propaganda mill.

          Let me tell you what I’m doing about it: I’m calling out liars like you who try to rewrite history. Obama is not to blame for marijuana prohibition, he is to be congratulated for his tolerance in allowing legalization to flourish under his watch. And if he had had even the slightest cooperation from the Republicans during his two terms in office, we wouldn’t now be in the deep-shit cluster-fuck you have put us in.

          And Hillary? Shit. All she did was run for President (and win the most votes, by the way) — so, get over it, already, you sexist jackass.

          Trump is not a populist, you shit-peddling swindler. He’s a sadistic, wannabe-dictator and a con-man. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but the scumbag is highly unpopular. His base is narrow, and narrow-minded.

          In summary, that’s what I’m doing about it: I’m calling out lying Trump propagandists like yourself. Thanks for asking; Now you know!

          • Agreeing Anna says:

            Bravo Mark! Well said!

            • Chris says:

              Hey Anna,
              I am probably what you would call the Trump Base and so is my entire family. We are all for the legalization of Marijuana. Everyone I know is and we all voted for Trump. I’m from South Carolina where the laws are destroying teen age lives and where Jeff Sessions is from. The courts are filled with simple possession charges – where you can go to jail for 30 days, lose your license for 30 days and pay a fine, and that’s for the first offense. This is ridiculous – let us know how we can help. I think South Carolina is ready to change.

            • Mark Mitcham says:

              @ Agreeing Anna
              If I may suggest, I might have told Chris from South Carolina that my beef is with current Trump supporters who still defend him, not former supporters who realize they’ve been betrayed, and now oppose Trump.

              Just my opinion, but I say there’s plenty of room in the marijuana legalization movement for FORMER Trump supporters who are no longer advancing his racist, authoritarian agenda within the diverse marijuana legalization community.

              But you can’t have it both ways, as current Trump supporters insist on trying to do.

          • Chris says:

            Talk about propaganda…The Obama administration quietly raided more medical dispensaries abiding by state and local laws than the Bush Administration. How about you make arguments based on facts. I love it how people like you think you, who have nothing to stand on, start calling people sexist, racist, fascist, bigot, and other names simply for the shock value, thinking that it’s somehow going to make your case.

            • Julian says:


              Jeff Sessions endorsed Trump way back in March of his campaign. Trump began his campaign with the same racist rhetoric as Harry Anslinger who started prohibition by blaming Mexicans and marijuana on our socioeconomic inequality.
              Funny thing; racist prohibition is the primary source of socioeconomic inequality. Normally, I dont blame everything a candidate says or does on the people who vote for them. But one thing I wont allow is for ego-tripping Trump supporters try to
              A): vainly disassociate themselves from every racist thing Trump ever did or said on his campaign
              B): pretend like Sessions or the whole defense-contracting Drug War brigade never endorsed Trump

              Perhaps the biggest most pathetic flaw of younger generations, and particularly the Trump-supporting-Lil-Dicks-Anonymous-Brigade (not saying you have a lil dick Chris, but your comments imply… “I hear things… people are saying”) …is the blatant disregard, unwillingness and failure to ADMIT when we’re WRONG!! Doth it offend thine ego with so much madness to admit thine own fault? To thine own self be true?
              Look, I’ll go first;
              It was WRONG of me to imply you have a little dick. Now it’s your turn; You can admit you were wrong to vote for a racist, fascist, authoritarian prohibitionist who is feeding our chances for legalization and our entire Democratic Republic to the Russian bears.

              All racism leads to the aquisition of other people’s property; hence, asset forfeitures, bad loans, drug wars, false equivalancies and political sell outs like Trump. It doesnt make us weak to admit when were wrong; it makes us right.

      • Laura Sheridan says:

        Prohibition did not work then and it still doesn’t! What I find disgusting is that the public servants on taxpayer payroll are in the position and hired by us tax payers to make laws that work for the “people” the ones who hired you so to thumb your nose at the masses for the sake of sticking your nose up the few rich people in the pharmaceutical industry’ asses,who may lost a FEW dollars to the smart folks who use alternative medicine, really just sums it up! This war is over so deal with A.G. and move on to more important issues, like where your rich friends children and grandchildren will live after they have totally destroyed the planet by making it uninhabitable with the greed you all display~!

    2. Jeedi says:

      I am in with NORML! Thank goodness this organization exists. I for one do NOT think marijuana is some trivial thing or vice that society can live without. I do not see marijuana as something that is harmful to human beings. It is my opinion that the psychological effects of marijuana is not to intoxicate a person into a stupor or create a dead beat citizen, but rather to induce a heightened state of reality that also brings a person inward meditatively for meaningful reflection. Certainly the new user can be overwhelmed and impaired physically. But this is not because of the drug, but rather because of the inexperienced user’s inability to focus one’s thoughts on a task. Their mind is going all over the place as they lay plastered on the couch. This is not marijuana doing this to the person. But rather the inexperienced mind that is not used to focused attention and bringing one’s thoughts under control. Thousands upon thousands of marijuana consumers figure out how to surf with it. These people are not in any stupor or delusional state that is dangerous to anybody! Because thousands upon thousands of experienced marijuana users can shred a mountain on a snowboard, or dominate in a video game, or create a masterful piece of music. For the average person it means the best tasting bowl of ice cream or the best time cleaning the house. For this the man wants to bust down our doors, shoot our animals, aggressively arrest us for wanting to consume and even grow a harmless plant. That someday might inspire the discovery that propels mankind to even higher evolution. But this can NOT happen if the people in charge take away our sacred plant, and destroy our lives for using it.

      So thankfully NORML is here to give marijuana affectiados a place to feel normal and accepted as an equal human beings. The truth is on our side. Marijuana/hemp is indeed a wonder plant and important crop for humanity.

      • Evening Bud says:

        One of the great benefits of MJ legalization is that it often gives you, the buyer, the opportunity to shop for the particular strains that are best for you. I prefer the cerebral strains, for instance, and the euphoric strains that enhance happiness and relaxation, over the uplifting body-high types. Those latter types in fact sometimes make my body feel uncomfortable. There are strains that are great for social situations, others far less so, strains perfect for listening to music, watching movies, playing board games or whatever. I found a couple of strains in Denver that suited me perfectly (others that I won’t get again).

        You can rarely get those choices from a black market dealer. Usually, you get what they have, whether or not it is particularly suited for you, and whether or not it is fresh. And that’s taking it for granted that your dealer has any stock at all at that particular moment.

        For that reason, among others, I’m hoping that the 4 new states that approved MJ recreationally this past election can move ahead.

        • Jeedi says:

          Dear Evening Bud,

          I could not agree with you more, friend. Something that I discovered for myself because of store testing for medical use is that strains high in CBD work great for me. I purchased some Acapulco Gold recently from a dispensary in Las Vegas that was tested at 13.03% CBD with D9-THC at 8.52%. You would think that since the THC was so low that it would produce a mild psychological effect; but quite the contrary, for me at least, it works as good as stuff that was tested THC at 28% or so that I have used. I would never have been able to get a specific high CBD from an underground dealer for my chronic pain and my psychonauting. Now I can mountain bike for hours tearing up the trail, picking killer lines of trail with less pain all the while in deep thought figuring out my life. Thanks Show Grow medical dispensary.

          • Evening Bud says:


            Your comment was interesting and so true:

            “I purchased some Acapulco Gold recently from a dispensary in Las Vegas that was tested at 13.03% CBD with D9-THC at 8.52%. You would think that since the THC was so low that it would produce a mild psychological effect; but quite the contrary, for me at least, it works as good as stuff that was tested THC at 28% or so that I have used. . . . ”

            I found out that same thing about one of the strains I like, Chem 4. It’s listed as 18% or so, but was plenty strong for me. Your comment about Acapulco Gold brings back many memories–the song, at least, as I never had a chance to taste it back in the day.

          • Evening Bud says:

            Oops, sorry, I was thinking of the song “Panama Red.”

    3. Julian says:

      Dana Rohrabacher is the only Congressman that admits to consuming marijuana while serving in office and the only Congressman that gets to title himself as a Libertarian. Senators Rand Paul, R-KY and Jeff Flake, R-AZ flaked out and betrayed their values voting for Jeff Sessions. We will not forget.
      I think “Whats next” is fairly clear. As NORML founder and legal council Keith Stroup has said, the USAG can simply file an injunction in federal court to use the Supremecy Clause to shut down state commercial operations. But the USAG cannot tell states how to regulate their criminal law, meaning that without a legal market, and without penalities, the black market cartels… including those agencies within the DOJ… will become even more powerful than ever.
      Unless we can pass HR 975 and quickly. By April the Rorhabacher-Farr amendment expires and without it there will be nothing stopping Sessions from cracking down on state legalization.
      Meanwhile what is occurring at the state level is exceptional… More than 350 fellow activists flooded the state capitol here in Texas last Wednesday and Congressman (as well as I) were impressed with the level of professionalism displayed by activists. Dressing professionally helps us retain the confidence to speak confidently and ask and listen.
      Make sure and sign the log book up front showing your zipcode that you are a voting constituent in your state Congressman’s district. Dont be discouraged if you talk to a staff member: directors and staff are there for this reason. Get to know them all. Use emails for brief questions and sending peer reviewed links that can be found on this website in the NORML library. Call for an appointment. Good luck!

    4. Julian says:

      And we can tell a Republican controlled Congress that HR 975 represents the core Republican value of states rights. Here is the link to write your Congressman:

      And dont forget HR 331 to halt Federal asset forfeitures:

      Republicans, the Drumphureror or Sherriff’s Associations do not get to use our tax dollars and asset forfeitures stolen without due process to justify throwing sick Americans in jail or separating children from their parents because they “cant stop drug dealers otherwise.” We got your otherwise: LEGALIZE!

      These two laws will stop the civil war machine that turns cops sworn to protect us into criminals. Lets restore the integrity of this nation and show Drumph and his evil cabinet what “law and order” is and show Sessions what the “Justice” in the Justice Department stands for.

    5. Anonymous says:

      why doesn’t the article say who the 12 sponsors of the ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ were..
      we can’t support them if we don’t know who they are.

    6. Mark Mitcham says:

      So here we are, with nothing between us and Jeff Sessions except “states’ rights,” a legal principle historically used to deprive black citizens of their inalienable rights.

      For the moment, never mind what Jeff Sessions thinks. Let’s talk about us for a minute, and ask ourselves: should we cannabis consumers “respect” the rule of law?

      I say, it’s important not to conflate morality with legality, when it comes to marijuana law. There are the moral issues, and then there are the legal issues.

      Ending marijuana prohibition is a matter of social justice. For as long as I’ve been around, the “laws” regarding marijuana have been overtly and blatantly rigged in favor of oppression and exploitation, at the expense of civil and human rights. Those principles of law which might have protected us as citizens, like the fundamental right to medicine, and our basic right to grow and eat food, have long since been corrupted and/or neutered.

      So fuck the law, first of all. It’s corrupt. Let’s be honest: we’re not going to quit smoking marijuana, whether it’s legal or not.

      Yes, let’s fix the laws; and let’s use whatever laws we need to protect ourselves; this is a matter of practicality. But when we make our case to the public, let us not be hypocritical. “Respect?” Sorry. Can’t do it. The Law is corrupt, and unworthy of respect.

      This is about Harm Reduction, not respect for “states’ rights.” “States rights” are worth about as much as “corporations’ rights” — and that’s zip.

      States, like corporations, are not people, therefore they don’t have any fucking rights. Even animals have more rights than states and corporations, because they are actually living, sentient beings. States and corporations are legal fictions — they have no more inherent rights than cartoon characters.

      Imagine there’s no country, it isn’t hard to do. (Thanks, John Lennon.)

      People’s Rights, goddamn it!

      • Tuaca says:

        Boy it doesn’t take much for y’all to claim the sky is falling because of AG Sessions!!!

        Slow down, take a hit off your bong and THINK!!!!

        Colorado collected $1.3bn last year and that number is climbing.

        8 states have legalized it and their coffers are becoming full as well.

        AG Sessions if anything will be eliminating the FDA Scheduled of Class 1.

        This is a 10th Amendment – States Rights.

        • Galileo Galilei says:

          The 10th Amendment never stopped them before.

          • Tuaca says:

            There wasn’t so much money involved before and there didn’t have the amount of people behind this like they do now. See the BIG picture

            • Anonymous says:

              “Your industry is small by any metric of American capitalism,” said John Hudak of the Brookings Institution. “You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          If you’re buying what you’re selling, then you’re in for a big surprise…

        • Julian says:

          Welcome to this forum. You clearly know nothing about marijuana policy or AG Jeff Sessions or even that Drug War III has already been ordered by the orange, mentally unstable douchebag we call our President.
          Allow me to explain: CONGRESS has to fix the Controlled Substances Act. Not the AG, not the President. The USAG COULD recognize bad drug policy and prioritize enforcement on real violent crimes until Congress figures it out… but in this case the executive branch is more interested in self profit from private prison, pharmaceutical and asset forfeiture kickbacks and campaign “donations” from vulture capitalist billionaires stealing votes through voter caging.
          So please click on the green ACT! tab and contact our state and federal Congressman to change bad marijuana laws today; before Sessions pulls your head out of your asset forfeiture and fills it with a cell mate. 😉

          • MSimon says:

            Trump is a populist. All you need to do (assuming he is not bought as Obama was) is to change his supporters.

            Calling him names will not effect the change you want.

            Changing the minds of his supporters will.

            I’m working on it.



            • Julian says:


              Only Congress is going to deschedule marijuana.

              You are talking to someone who regularly lobbies my state Republican legislature on marijuana legalization, or at least decriminalization.

              You want to educate Trump voters? Join your local school board and lets get civics back in as a core curriculum for public schools (before Devos sells them to the highest bidder).

              You operate under the false assumption that Trump supporters READ. Hell, youve been trying to get me on an educational role for Trumpers and you appear to be oblivious to the fact that Trump already ordered Drug War III! Its in the news! (No, the REAL news like th Washington Post, NYTimes and the Guardian).

              Education is key, but PUBLIC education… not yelling into some Trumpist echo chamber while continuing to perpetuate the myth that any President can single handedly deschedule marijuana without the consent of Congress. Thatll end up in Federal court faster than the April deadline for the Rorhabacher-Farr amendment to expire so Sessions can file an injunction. PLEASE research.

              So do us all a favor: you wanna educate Trump supporters without civics in Public education? Pay for a commercial on Fox news and Britebart that promotes HB975. See if you can fit in images of Trump’s executive orders turning into violence in our streets while the Mexican families being deported cause massive inflation in our economy. You dont even have to be sarcastic like John Oliver recently did… just deliver basic FACTS… because we dont have an EPA anymore to put FACTS on the endangered species list.

            • Julian says:

              “Assuming Trump is not bought,”
              How on earth do you assume ANY politician isnt bought under the unlimited campaign donations of Citizens United? You are either too incompetant to understand our current politics or you need to stop the bull$#!+ right now.

            • Negative Nancy says:

              Trump is a venereal disease. Wear a pussy cap.

            • Anonymous says:

              Trump is a fascist. All you need to do (give me one example of Obama being bought) is to outnumber his supporters.

              Calling him something he’s not will not effect the change you want.

              Voting him out of office will.

              I’m working on it.



    7. Alan Cleland says:

      Help stop the decay of American youth
      Enforce and fortify current laws against the use of marijuana.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        The marijuana prohibitionists say they want to “protect” little Alan Cleland from the “dangers” of marijuana — that is, until he takes his first toke! Then, the goal becomes to DESTROY little Alan Cleland, to send his life into a downward spiral of prison, joblessness, and violence.

        But we don’t want that to happen to little Alan Cleland; we want him to be able to grow up, go to school, get a good job, and never have to worry about being shot, or otherwise having his life ruined by the bogus laws prohibiting use of the safe and nutritious plant cannabis.

    8. mmj Vet. usmc says:

      if you guys would just tweet trump over and over again we could probably get an answer about what he intends to do. isn’t it really our best bet? its his most used way to speak to the people.

    9. Jennifer McQuaid says:

      We need this law to be passed not only for the purpose of the benefits it helps medical patients, but also for people that would carry and end up with a federal record that screws up there lives. I would also like for some initiative for there to be able to test it scientifically for different alments and dosages for people. I know for my self with medical problems that this helps, but I’d like some knowledge of strains of it that this one is better for this ailment over another. Plus doseage I don’t want to be high for fun I just want the pain to go away and have a productive live.

    10. carol sharp says:

      if we can kill ourselves smoking cigarettes why cant we smoke pot.

      • mexweed says:

        To paraphrase @Julian, Feb 14, 2:57 pm, above,
        “How on earth do you assume ANY politician isn’t bought under the unlimited campaign donations of $igarets United?”