Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement Policies, Governors Fight Back

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director April 6, 2017

    arrestedUnited States Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions has issued a formal memorandum calling on members of the Justice Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety to “undertake a review of existing policies,” including federal enforcement policies with regard to cannabis.

    The memo was sent on April 5 to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads.

    The Attorney General has requested a report back from task force members by no later than July 27th. You can read the full memo here.

    The release of this memorandum provides us with a general time frame during which to expect any formal announcements from the new administration with regard to addressing marijuana policy — specifically whether the Justice Department will respect state legalization laws.

    In the interim, members of Congress can remove all of the bite from Jeff Sessions’ bark by approving the bipartisan Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which prevents 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.

    Speaking recently before Congress, Attorney General Sessions said that his job is to enforce federal law. Let’s change federal law to ensure that our reform victories remain in place, and so that we can build upon these victories in the future.


    But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, state politicians are taking action. In recent days, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo.

    “Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

    Political and social change rarely comes from the top on down, it comes from the bottom up. That is why it is imperative for you to not only contact your federal officials in support of changing policy, but also to continue to push for change at the local and state level.

    Click HERE to view pending federal and state legislation and easily contact your elected officials in support of them.

    Click HERE to find a local NORML chapter in your area and get involved. NORML Kansas City this week successfully placed marijuana decriminalization on their municipal ballot and saw it pass with 71% support. This is the kind of positive change a group of committed volunteer citizens can bring to their communities.

    A people united will never be defeated and together we WILL end marijuana prohibition nationwide.

    33 responses to “Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement Policies, Governors Fight Back”

    1. Frederick Oppido says:

      We need the courage of our elected officials to undo the travesty known as the War on Drugs that has been unleashed on the American people. It is time to end a policy whose very foundation is based on lies, fear, intimidation, and deceit not scientific credibility. How many more lives will be destroyed for the Crime of Feeling Good? The Crimes Against Humanity that have been unleashed on the American people are no closer to achieving their goals than when this Draconian policy became the law nearly 80 some years ago. It is time for our elected officials to step up and put an end to this American nightmare.
      The only solution is for sensible legislation that ends criminal penalties for the personal or medical use of cannabis where no crimes are committed. Legalize, Regulate, Tax it just like Alcohol and allow citizens the right to make their own decisions in regards too consumption.

      • Travis Hall says:

        I agree, except I don’t think the consequences of American drug policy were unintended. The chaos and devastation were fully desired by the likes of Nixon…Well maybe he thought those problems would be isolated in black and brown communities

    2. Julian says:

      Indeed: how about legalize marijuana worldwide:

      How ironic that Mexico is importing marijuana from Colorado for their case studies on epilepsy. The Government farm in Mississipi and cartel brick weed have become obsolete as the quality state legal supply from Colorado and soon California floods the market…
      …unless of course youre Dr Sue Sisley who has been fighting to clear the legal hurdles to provide FDA approved cannabis to veterans with PTSD:


      Sisley has to use the governments “medical” marijuana to comply with Federal law even though it fails a lead test, a mold and a yeast test.

      Perhaps Sessions is kicking the can to US attorneys in July to see if the Rorhabacher-Farr amendment gets renewed this month: or for FDA approval of synthetic marijuana to pay Congress? …or maybe its because he admits keeping the Cole memo is the only option the DOJ can afford regardless?

      Either way, this Disadministration needs to get their message straight.

      Take the recent blunder by the TSA for example:

      They posted it was legal to carry weed on carry-on yesterday then abruptly took it off, said “NO” to marijuana on carry-on or checked-in luggage, then told Duke London at Marijuana.com that they “have no regulations on marijuana.” (Right… Which is why you have marijuana regulations written on the TSA website? …)
      For the Love of all that is GREEN and HOLY! Call and write Congress to DO their JOB, stop this insanity and pass the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act!

    3. Nancy Lee Garrett says:

      The 2nd-Annual National Cannabis Festival
      April 22, 2017 ? Washington, DC
      Get involved in shaping the future of cannabis culture across the United States.


    4. Miles says:

      Sessions is clearly no friend to anyone who believes in freedom. I’m wondering if we have a new enemy to be concerned about.

      An article in the Washington Post: “Senate Republicans go ‘nuclear,’ pave the way for Gorsuch confirmation to Supreme Court”

      I wonder if Gorsuch would side with Big Pharma and Private Prisons (among others) in keeping cannabis illegal and maintaining vastly inappropriate punishments for citizens.

      • Julian says:

        Unfortunately Miles, Gorsuch whore-sucks when it comes to Big Pharma, which we can fairly assertain was involved in the $10million in dark money that stole his seat from what was once a fair Senate Process. Its all the same billionaire players like the Kochs and Mercers… but Big Pharma or even Private Prisons arent even the main reason these billionaire Batman villains forced Gorsuch in or why they oppose marijuana legalization. The main reason is voter supression. Marijuana prohibition has taken more Democratically voting constituents out of the voting process either disproportionate incarceration of minorities or preying upon Democratically voting communities with the police state and never ending felony probation.
        People dont vote? Bad billionaires get to pass bad laws by putting bad Congressman in power.
        Look at what kind of ads the GOP is pouring on Democratic Candidate for GA Representative Jon Ossoff, (who is poised to take former prohibitionist Tom Price’s seat who is now our Sec. of Health & Human Services)… comparing him to Osama Bin Laden? Seriously?
        Sincethe CSAct of 1970 the only form of voter supression that rivals marijuana prohibition is gerrymandering and the GOP Crosscheck Program.


    5. Scott B says:

      I say states that have legalized should pass laws that will make federal interference with their state marijuana laws illegal. Then when the feds roll in to mess with our bud shops, the local 5.0 can arrest them. Wouldn’t that be something to see?

    6. Paul Neugebauer says:

      I think this is going to be a money / property grab by the Federal gov’t. Shameful as ever!

    7. rich says:

      Rise up….

    8. Amy says:

      We Need Freedom, The US Government has been growing Cannabis since 1968 and there are 4 Federal Patients getting cannabis from the University of Mississippi. This Plant needs to BE LEGAL FOR ALL. That is Freedom .

    9. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Take out the cruel joke in the Control Substance Act of 1970. That is all it takes and there is no other real reason why it was there in the first place than to get back on those pesky smart-ass college hippies who doesn’t like Nixon’s policy on keeping the war going in Viet Nam.

      • charlie says:

        While your first point about Nixon may be true, the fact is he both ran on the promise of, and followed through on, ending the Vietnam War.

    10. TheOracle says:

      This is what you’re going to do, Sessions:

      You tossed the hot potato to a commission. Just make sure the report recommends overtly that cannabis be legalized. If you disagree with legalization, you WILL respect their decision to legalize and implement legalization. No buts. It doesn’t matter if the Respect Marijuana Laws Act passes before the report, after the report. You better orchestrate it by giving them hints that’s the direction you want it to go. They all need to hear from the cannabis community, keeping up that drum beat. They can’t arrest their way out of legalization. Canada’s legalizing. Legalization will solve a lot of problems, save money and bring in revenue to public coffers.

      Sessions, make sure legalization happens. This is an uphill battle and the snowball keeps getting bigger. You’re rolling a snowball uphill, and everyone knows that rolling a snowball makes it get bigger and heavier and harder to push.

      Opposing legalization is peeling off members of the cannabis community who voted for Trump. Even Roger Stone was on Bill Maher testing the waters, putting that out there for the public to see if it’s a lightening rod.

      • Maria Robinson says:

        He got a guy now.He is going to step the DEA before anybody comes up with anything on July.I think every body better get ready. DEa is going to steal the money and the MJ. Sessions and his buddy wants mass incarcerations. They are also going to bring back 3 strike laws. See? Trump is a liar.He promised jobs but thats because us US tax payers are going to pay.

      • Julian says:

        @ Oracle,
        I think Roger Stone and every politico knows that supporting marijuana legalization is not a lightning rod. Stone was on Bill Maher because he’s kissing liberal @$$ in fear of being targeted for Congressional investigations involving Russian interference in the election.

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