Pennsylvania Governor to AG Sessions: Back Off!

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director June 15, 2017

    In a recent letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wrote a pointed letter regarding the Department of Justice and it’s posturing to implement a crackdown of lawful state medical marijuana programs.

    The full letter:

    Dear Attorney General Sessions:

    Last year, the Pennsylvania passed bipartisan legislation to legalize Medical Marijuana that I was proud to sign into law. The legislation was the result of conversations with Republicans and Democrats and fierce advocacy from families of children who were stricken with terrible illness that could be helped by Medical Marijuana.

    We talked to kids who suffer dozens of seizures in a given day. We met veterans who have seen absolute terror and seek relief from the effects of their post-traumatic stress. We approached the responsibility of providing relief to the people of Pennsylvania very thoughtfully.

    Since I signed the legislation, we have taken very careful and deliberate steps to implement the law so that those who are suffering can get relief while ensuring that the state is a responsible steward of the program.

    Given the bipartisan and medical consensus for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania and many other states, I am disturbed to know that you are actively pursuing a change in federal law to go after medical marijuana suppliers.

    We do not need the federal government getting in the way of Pennsylvania’s right to deliver them relief through our new medical marijuana program.

    Your action to undo the protections of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use federal funds to disrupt states’ efforts to implement “their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana” is misguided.

    If you seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty.


    Governor Tom Wolf

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions Photo by Gage Skidmore

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
    Photo by Gage Skidmore

    This comes in response to a recently revealed private letter that Jeff Sessions sent to Congressional leadership requesting that the DOJ be permitted to target and prosecute state-licensed medical cannabis facilities, currently prohibited by a spending rider known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

    “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote, “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

    Jeff Sessions actually seems to believe that lawful medical marijuana patients, i.e. sick people, are causing the violent crime and contributing to transnational drug trafficking.

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was questioned about federal marijuana policy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week and he brought up current DOJ policy and left the door wide open to a potential crackdown.

    “Jim Cole tried to deal with it in that memorandum and at the moment that memorandum is still in effect. Maybe there will be changes to it in the future but we’re still operating under that policy which is an effort to balance the conflicting interests with regard to marijuana,” stated Rosenstein, “So I can assure you that is going to be a high priority for me as the U.S. Attorneys come on board to talk about how to deal with that challenge in the states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, whether it be for recreational or medical use…”

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

    But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, Wolf and other state politicians are taking action. Recently, 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.”

    Click here to send a message to your member of Congress to urge them to force the Department of Justice to respect state marijuana laws and then visit http://norml.org/act to support other efforts in your state and federally.

    PA resident? Click here to send a message to your state lawmakers to support the effort to decriminalize marijuana in the Keystone State.

    42 responses to “Pennsylvania Governor to AG Sessions: Back Off!”

    1. Janice I Mortimer says:

      Just because you’re in the position you’re in doesn’t give you the right to mess things up. Leave everything about marijuana alone. Go & study alcohol, now alcohol kills, marijuana hasn’t, doesn’t!!!!!!!!!

      • Logicalme says:

        I agree. Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana. Hands off Sessions. You’re not the bossame. Thiysed to be a republic not a dictatorship run out of the Justice Dept.

    2. Gregory Gaudreau says:

      No way legalization is the only way.

    3. Julian says:

      Good work Governor. Now its our turn to do ours. Click on the Act tab, contact your state and federal representatives, then call and meet with them to reform marijuana laws.

      And states? Sue this administration back under the rock they crawled out of.

    4. Tech A gOn says:

      Jeff sessions is as corrupt as the day is long; nobodys that ignorant, naturally or purposfully.

      • Margo Rox says:

        You call others ignorant, but you cannot spell. Who is ignorant?

        • Donny Bee says:

          Really? Margo really? Are you in high school?
          Sometimes e buttons do not work. E button type O’s may not always be signs of ignorance. Is that what you are scared of? Being shown up because your W button doesn’t work? Come on Margo really?

        • Dain Bramage says:

          @ Margo Rox,
          I misspell frequently, too, but I don’t need win a spelling bee to know that Jefferson Peckerwood Sessions is as corrupt as the day is long! He surely is an ignorant sum-bitch!

          • Julian says:

            Jeffereson Beauregard Sessions… (spell that twice)… is an Ignint corrupt-@$$ sum-bitch!

    5. For the last 36years of my 44 year criminal law practice, I have focused on the developing programs and strategies for assisting clients in successfully ending their drug addiction and alcohol abuse. I give State Bar supported lectures to lawyers on the elements of addiction and the characteristics of successful programs for long term rehabilitation. I am regarded as an expert in the area of
      Successfully assisting addicts and alcoholics getting clean and sober. I am completely familiar with the current and escalating drug abuse epidemic often resulting in criminal activity to support it, as well as the significant increase in overdose and suicide which is often the end game. I am not a fan of drugs, which includes Marijuana.
      I have a sister who is currently suffering from Stage 4 cancer. I was present when I heard her companionate, treating physician suggest to her that she use medically prescribed marijuana. Her first reaction was to refuse the suggestion as she “…didn’t want to die a drug addict!” The Doctor responded by telling her there were two significant benefits to use marijuana as part of her medical regimen: it would help with her inability to sleep, and it would increase her diminished appetite. Indeed, it accomplished both of these objectives, and my sister has yet to do a bank robbery! Clearly, medical marijuana is an asset for those suffering significant, documented medical illnesses. It is clear that the five Governors have done significant investigation in determining the need, and a controlled way in making this medicine available with oversight for those who qualify. Please support their respective decisions, which were developed with compassion, not misguided thinking…

      • Scott B says:

        Amen. Thank you for this.
        I have been around Marijuana since I was a kid and have enjoyed it for many years off and on. In my experiences, Marijuana is like a glass of wine. Don’t drink and go out driving around. Same thing for Marijuana. Enjoy it responsibly and it is harmless and beneficial.
        There are those who have addiction issues with Marijuana. I have been to N.A. meetings and listened to an addict discuss their Marijuana addiction. They feel they cannot function without it. From what I have seen, it can be mildly addictive to the right kind of person; maybe similar to someone who can’t stop smoking cigarettes.
        At the same time, Marijuana is helpful if used responsibly and/or medically. For those who may like it a bit too much and develop a habit; these people have an “addictive personality” in my experience. If it wasn’t Marijuana, it would be something else.
        All this being said, keep the fight going. We need to be free to use this beneficial medicine as we see fit.

        • mexweed says:

          @Scott, you’re close, now for the cigar: “The right kind of person… similar to someone who can’t stop smoking cigarettes” is someone who has been programmed (by a trillion dollars worth of $igarette advertising) to consume their marijuana in $igarette (oops, sorry, Joint) format. 500-mg-per-lightup hot burning overdose monoxide paperpuffin’ (HBOMP). The monoxide and 4221 Combustion toxins co-create the “addictive personality” prohibbers blame on cannabis.
          Remedy? SUBSTITUTE 25-mg MICRODOSE vapetokes with a flexdrawtube oneheater* for the massively advertised puffpapers.
          (And if tobacckgo addicts imitate, leading to sharp reduction in 6,000,000 yearly deathtroll, NORML WILL WIN a $1.5-mil. KNOWITWELL PRIZE to use lobbying for criminal-record expungement, career liberation and asset forfeiture abolition.)

          *see free wiki article, “Make-Pipes-from-

      • Patrick O'Connell says:

        Though you have an opinion and it may be substantiated in your personel experience, in no way does your opinion or experience envelove the breath of cannabis experienced by all users. Your remark is unfairly a blanket statement. And I would wager there are far more people needing your assistance from their pharmaceutical opiate addictions, than users of cannabis alone. I am tired of people saying cannabis is a gate way drug, bullshit. People who progress to other drugs do so because cannabis doesn’t cut it for them, not because cannabis opened doors for them. Get on board, and stop sending out the lie. Not only is cannabis a natural medicinal product, it is also a great source of nutrient and immuneological benefits. This is a medicine everyone should be taking in minute daily ingested amounts for preventative means and good health.

        • Evening Bud says:


          You’re right about the gateway drugs. I believe alcohol and tobacco are at least as responsible if not more so.

    6. Logicalme says:

      Using Session’s logic, we should also ban all pain medicines which contain opiates or any other type of narcotic ingredients. A few are percodan, Percocet, Tylenol with codeine, etc. Hospitals could not sedate for surgery. As you can see this nonsense could go stupid very quickly using Session’s logic. Good people don’t seek pain relief. What an idiot.

    7. Scott Klingler says:

      As I understand it the Federal government is getting tax from some states where it is legal . If indeed they do receive tax dollars from it then are they complicit In a crime. Why is no one looking into charging the government under the RICO act.

    8. TOPDOG1 says:

      SUDDEN AMNESIA… Does Sessions telling Congress twenty-six times that he does not remember’ not count as lying? This AMNESIA is nothing more than perjury and he should be expelled from office. He is in contempt of Congress, the Senate, and the American people.This nation should not be required or forced to tolerate such disrespect and contempt for his high office.AG is no position for a crackpot clown. Perjury of this magnitude should not only remove him from office but place him in Federal prison for contempt of Congress.This greedy corporate puppet and ancient swamp creature has obviously become so senile that he is a danger to public office and the billionaires that placed him there.

      • Evening Bud says:

        You’re right about his severe case of amnesia. He also committed perjury when he lied about his lack of contacts with the Russians. In a just world, that little Keebler elf would spend the next 20 years fending off his new roommate Bubba.

    9. Matt says:

      I will have much more to say on this, soon. For now, let’s back up Gov. Wolf and ALL mail letters to Sessions to stop this madness. I, too, heard about his request for federal powers to, basically crack down, and I was horrified as well. It is a BAD thing for us, as it shows Sessions is starting to turn on legalization, medical, or otherwise. Like I said….he’s coming, folks. I think he also has some sort of deadline, a request for a report from states on legalization enforcement measures, at the end of NEXT MONTH, that is, July. I saw this story, that Sessions requested enforcement authority on medical…..guys and gals, I am sorry, again, to be SO negative, but this is bad…..Jeff Sessions is bad, bad, BAD. But gov. Wolf and others like the California governor Brown, give me faith. There WILL be a fight if Sessions cracks down. I watched a GREAT series last night on Viceland, my first time, Bong Appetit….educated, Persians…..cusine and infused, and it was awesome 😀 I would like that in MY state!.Queen of the South too….If Sessions cracks down, we are going to fight. For the FUTURE…for progress….we are going to resist, Mr. Sessions…..legalization is NOT GOING AWAY!

    10. Mike says:

      I hope Jeff Peckerwood Sessions gets caught up in the Russian probe and is removed.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        I like that, that’s a really good name for him: Jefferson Peckerwood Sessions. It’s magnanimous, yet fitting.

      • Miles says:

        Sessions recently testified that he has served our country for 35 years. That is a matter of opinion. In my opinion he has served his own perverted interests at taxpayers expense for 35 years!