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. Dain Bramage says:

      Hypothetical question: Would it be a crime to offer Jeff Sessions a legal, THC-infused cookie? Or maybe just place a tray of cookies, nearby, and easily available? Just wondering.

      • jane says:

        thats right-poison Jeff Sessions like the legions of others u are poisoning.
        Dance on his grave u idiot-but I’m sure someone will be sad about your overdose death long before Sessions is dead.
        anytime someone calls someone else an idiot,as unthinking leftists do constantly, maybe they should be looking more deeply at the issue
        Grieving Mother

        • Negative Nancy says:

          @ jane,
          Cannabis is non-toxic.

        • Evening Bud says:

          Well, Jane, I read Dain Bramage’s sentences for the word “idiot” twice and could not locate it. . . . So, it seems you are railing about something that doesn’t exist. In fact, the only one I see using the word “idiot” is you. Since you are obviously convinced, erroneously, that one can overdose from a THC-infused cookie, maybe you should be “looking more deeply at the issue.”

          PS, Jane, Dain wasn’t suggesting we kill Sessions, but instead that we give him a brain laxative, you know, to unclog all the backup, all the years of stank.

        • John says:

          No one has ever been harmed by consumption of cannabis, so don’t give me that ‘grieving mother’ bologna, you are a paid internet troll working for the giant chemical companies who do actually poison us.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry for your loss, but one thing is sure you can’t die from Cannabis, no matter how much is consumed.

        • Sean says:

          Jane: Sorry you are grieveing, but I’ll be goddamned if I will sit back and allow you and that morally repugnant goon Jeff Sessions scapegoat cannabis. Hell no!

        • Anonymous says:

          Cannabis is safe. Those paint chips your eating are toxic.

        • sk says:

          in high school I had a friend who tried to commit suicide with marijuana. like seriously. His family was having some problems, and suffered from depression when he decided to end his life. He smoked a ton of weed and fell asleep, he woke up the next morning with a hangover.

          Not really sure what you’re grieving over, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t a marijuana overdose. Because it’s simply not possible.

          • Julian says:

            That’s sad. Hope your friend has a sense of humor. A suicide fail has gotta be rough. What gave him tje idea that weed would do it?
            BTW, the hangover wasn’t from marijuana. If he put a gas mask on and cut off the oxygen he could have gotten light headed or dehydrated attempting to asphyxiate but hangovers are from alcohol. Perhaps the weed put him to sleep before he could have really overdosed on alcohol?

        • AK says:

          You had mentioned that you are grieving.
          I assume you had a reason for mentioning that.
          But you did not tell us about it at all, instead you went on and on – something about idiot liberals poisoning smart conservatives.
          I am not calling you a liar, at all, I am only reminding you that maybe you meant to tell us something which you forgot to tell us.

        • Allen Burleigh says:

          You are a fool..

      • personliku says:

        I was thinking the same thing while reading this xD

      • Beef says:

        Lol don’t listen to them. Must be a troll to post such nonsense especially here among educated folk.

    2. Trojan72 says:

      Jeff Sessions is a Corrupted Government BASTARD!

    3. Evening Bud says:

      But, but, Drumpf said he was gonna drain the swamp. He didn’t tell us he was gonna refill it with complete vermin. Sessions should return to his little rat cave somewhere in the hills of Alabama.

      I tried to call one of my State Senators, Gerald Ortiz Y Pino today, in regard to the latest MJ legalization attempts, but was unable to reach him (or any other State Legislature–kept hearing faint crackling sound on all the phone numbers). NORML editors, if you know of some alternative numbers for NM state legislators, I’d appreciate them.

      I will try to make calls to my Fed Reps this week.

      The last time I contacted the offices of Senators Udall and Heinrich, the office persons assured me that both supported legalization. NM Representative Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s office also told me that. She will be running for NM Governor next year. They are all Democrats.

      (I just went to the NOMRL congressional scorecards, and was surprised to see that Udall or Heinrich didn’t specifically support Rec Legalization–they’ll definitely get another call from me.)

      The office of Steve Pearce, GOP Senator, said that he opposes legalization (in virtually every form). He’s also running for Governor next year.

      To those who get tired of me ragging on Republicans on the issue of MJ legalization, don’t get mad at me, get mad at your GOP Senators and Reps who obviously don’t give a crap about your wishes.

      • I was there says:

        You can make it a Republican thing if you want but, it was the democrats that made CBD oil (even made from hemp) illegal one month before trump took office. The Dems lost everything and were promised to be bankrolled by the Pharm-Cartel in their next run at President, if they made it ALL illegal. (BOTH sides are bought and paid for by drug companies…both sides.) OBAMA is the guy that made it illegal. Remember that when you’re spouting nonsense.
        Instead of the original DEA filings, I’ll give you something you can better understand.

        • Julian says:

          “I was there,”
          …while I agree with you wholeheartedly that both Democan’ts and Republican’ts are both purchased out by big pharma, you then contradict yourself by attacking Evening Bud and Democrats stating they made it “all illegal.”
          If your read your own link to High Times lawyers talk about how the DEA’s move to rewrite the Controlled Substance Act and prohibit all “marijuana extracts” including all cannabinoids not just CBD… is an illegal overeach of executive authority. The DEA scheduled CBD last year, and the Congress you speak of being responsible was in session back in 1970 when the Controlled Substances Act was written.

          Overall, a quick look at the NORML Congressional scorecard:
          …Tells us the Dems are far more favorable to marijuana reform than Republicans. This is true at the state level as well. Ultimately we will have to support candidates who don’t take PAC money or Big Pharma venom like Beto Orourke running for Senate against Ted Cruz here in Texas;

        • Evening Bud says:

          @ I was there,

          It IS a Republican thing. There are Dems who are prohibitionist assholes–I try to point that out now and then. But I challenge you to find ONE state where GOPers are better on the MJ issue than Dems. Give me ONE, I Was There.

          BTW, the GOP has full control of the Federal Govt right now–do you see any legalization legislation coming out of the House? Why aren’t you demanding they take up the issue?

        • AK says:

          Sorry but you lose. 3 words – Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the 3rd.

    4. Bob Chianelli says:

      There have been many studies and published reports documenting the positive medical benefits of medical cannabis for various medical conditions. Why is cannabis still listed as a schedule 1 drug given the following excerpt? “The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

    5. YearofAction says:

      There is a simple reform that we can present to our federal lawmakers. While this reform does not de-schedule marijuana itself, it will de-schedule the versatile cannabis plant (a.k.a. the marijuana plant, a.k.a. the hemp plant). It might even shame the marijuana prohibitionists by exposing their enduring “Big Lie”:

      The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is, as are the viable seeds of such plant, prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

      • Negative Nancy says:

        @ YearofAction,
        If it makes you feel better.

      • Julian says:

        Year-bait, youre like one of those punching dolls keeps comin back. The only “Big Lie” here is by vaguely claiming the unsmoked parts of cannabis can be descheduled while the ulterior motive of this language is for Big Pharma to promote patented FDA approved synthetics while people like myself who enjoy “combusting” my cannabis keep going to jail. Something similar to whats already happening in Florida, New York and Arkansas, aint that right Year-bait?

        You want to understand the language of the legislative process read my post on Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing:


        Otherwise, before you go writin your Senator with this bologna, like I’ve told you before, it’s like Einstein said it; “If you can’t explain it to a Four-year-old you don’t understand it yourself.”

        So when it comes to complicated subjects like making whole plant cannabis open source;
        Here is something even a four year old can understand;

        Free the Weed for those in Need.

        • YearofAction says:

          Hey Julian! It just occurred to me that the federal term “marijuana” is probably the first use of, and likely the most enduring use of, Newspeak.

          (Newspeak – noun – (sometimes initial capital letter) an official or semiofficial style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, especially in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective…)

          Making the meaning of that term specific will change the newspeak term into a real term that can be rescheduled.

          “Its all about the semantics.”

          • Julian says:

            Is “rescheduling” and keeping minorities, sick and poor people in jail for consuming marijuana just because they smoke it instead of “descheduling” marijuana and making it open source once and for all just “semantics” for you? Have you ever gone to jail or prison for possession of marijuana Year-bait?

            • YearofAction says:

              After reading the document in your link above, several questions come to mind:

              1. Mass. voters approved medical marijuana. Were they specifying that cannabis should be smoked, or were they just adopting the newspeak use of that term? Would “medical cannabis” not be more encompassing, or be less valid?

              2. The plaintiff used medical marijuana. Does that assume that she smoked it? Would it not be better to say that the patient medically used the cannabinoids from cannabis?

              3. The plaintiff’s doctor certified that she could use medical marijuana to treat her illness. Would it not be better for the doctor to certify that she could medically use the cannabinoids from cannabis, and perhaps advise that she not smoke it?

              4. The plaintiff tested positive for marijuana. Does that mean the drug test indicated that smoke was in her urine sample? Would it not be better to say that the test indicated cannabinoid metabolites?

              5. The patient fought to regain her constitutional right to medically use the cannabinoids from cannabis. Would the specification that marijuana is controlled cannabis smoke not restore that right, and diminish the employer’s per se claim of violating federal marijuana law?

              6. Congress characterizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Would a determination that the meaning of the term marijuana is controlled cannabis smoke not conflict with the absurdity of the characterization that marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug? Might it cause the adoption of the less absurd alternate characterization that marijuana is a Schedule 1 “other substance”, and might that lead to the rescheduling/decriminalization of that specified substance?

              Regarding your question about marijuana possession. No, but I support your efforts to end people’s incarceration for that. Would the specification that marijuana is controlled cannabis smoke not reduce the frequency of that cause for incarceration of minorities, sick and poor people?

            • Julian says:

              Jesus Yearbait, youre contradicting yourself all over the place!

              “Would it not be better for the doctor to certify that she could medically use the cannabinoids from cannabis, and perhaps advise that she not smoke it?”

              …No. advise me when smoking marijuana is legal.
              Then we’ll discuss advise.

              “Would the specification that marijuana is controlled cannabis smoke not restore that right…”
              Fuck no Year bait, that’s why the “smoke” of cannabis is A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE!!!”

              Auggghh… you know what? Fuckit. I’m done with you. Read the law and leave cannabis smokers ALONE!

    6. Golden Hexagram says:

      All the work we have done, especially on the east coast. Where recreational marijuana is going to be legal in 2018 and this ONE GUY is able to decide to wipe out all we have done and dictate to us and say NO! You don’t have the right!

      I say NO WAY! This is the final line we draw.. We decided, our states decided… One man does not have the power to wipe it all away!

    7. Georgia Smith says:

      Read the statistics PLEASE!

    8. kathleen says:

      The same guy who raided/seized/prosecuted 10 times the number of MMJ patients/caregivers/dispensaries as gwbush after the administration SCAMpaigned to being ‘kind’ to MMJ states says what?

      The guy who sold Mexican drug gangs guns that were used to kill Americans?

    9. Julian says:

      For fuck’s sake THANK YOU Justin for linking the Cole Memos. Do you know where I’m at with this false comparison between Trump and Obama legalizing marijuana bull$#!+?
      Anybody who thinks “Obama didn’t do enough” for marijuana legalization compared to this piece of $#!+ -$#ow-Trump-chump and never read the motherfu€kin Cole memos much less the Constitution… Please allow me to introduce you to this great stand up from our good friend Louis CK;
      Ok, you might have to skip to the end. But the point is
      (Justin, Miles and Mark… not naming any names for people who believe Obama “didn’t do enough” to legalize marijuana…oh so sorry he didn’t deschedule…” Guess what? Years ago I was THERE! But I got the joke! …Many years ago! The joke comes through from Louis CK to me defending Obama like when “no one is understanding what my friend is going through,” because…


      Look, Miles; this is you last year;

      “Miles says:
      December 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm
      I have been trying real hard to be optimistic. Lately, since finding out that Trump won the election, I have to admit find it to be exceedingly difficult.”

      How do you feel NOW?!
      How in the fu€k do you feel NOW Brother? Certainly theres no comparison? Between Obama and Trump? Or between Obama and McCain? Or Mitt fucking Romney?!! Really?!!

      • Rocky Coast says:

        Thank you to all those who fight against the catastrophe known as cannabis prohibition.

        It is still my opinion that Obama gets too much credit for not doing enough. Yet I have debated bitter pot-smoking Obama haters in Obama’s favor, citing such things as the Cole Memo, and Obama’s attempts to move away from the reliance on the private prison industry.

        I sure as hell didn’t vote Trump. Early last year I left the GOP because of Sessions joining Trump’s team. Yes, that was the last straw.

        As a politically independent medical MJ user, I watched the Democrat (Superdelegates Aren’t Democratic) Party condescendingly dangle moving MJ to Schedule II to get Hillary votes. That was a BS move by the party. And it backfired. They’re coming around now, but it’s because of political opportunity…not because it’s the morally and Constitutionally right thing to do.

        • Evening Bud says:

          Rocky, glad to see that you are enlightened. The GOP has to evolve, and wean itself from those Pharma bucks. There are of course Dems who have to as well, but they are definitely fewer.

        • Gilbert says:

          I believe it was political opportunity that got Cannabis on the list in the first place, they knew then there is nothing wrong with cannabis and they know it now as well, they are just trying to push the opportunities as far as they can. I like say it is the must abused political tool in America . So yeh they are correct in saying it has a chance of being abused , by the government !!

      • Julian says:

        Full disclosure I was 8 beers down in about 2 hours when I wrote that. Sorry for the profanity… its just so easy to be angry. If we could only channel that energy into contacting our Reps and Senators…

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Wow, not to evade the question, but I looked at the video, didn’t get anything about marijuana, lotta n-words… Are you sure you linked to the right video?

        • Julian says:

          Lol… hence the beer without marijuana influence… bare with me… The allusion I was making was that Ive been saying on this blog for 2 years now since our fu€king moron-in-Chief started his campaign;

          President Obama saved state marijuana legalization by signing the Cole memos. Furthermore, he saved us again by not descheduling marijuana by executive order before gambling on the next President overturning his orders or worse, allowing a Federal court to block state legalization using the supremacy clause through some Republican’t lawsuit before legislatively enacted legalization could occur, which arguably did not happen until this year in Massachussetts.
          But no one seemed to get or understand what I was saying. Perhaps I should have taken my own advice to Year-bait and spoken like a 4-year-old. I don’t know. But I started to feel like Louis CK’s cousin at Thanksgiving telling everybody the story about how bad he felt when his brother made fun of n___ Jim for falling asleep at the forklift. His cousin hated that everyone in his family was racist. But every time anyone told the story about n___ Jim, even a black comedian writer and a Greek guy were like “How does a n____ fall asleep at the forklift?” Totally missing the point of how racist this guy’s family was. (The joke is towards the end half of the link).

          All I’m trying to say is Obama did good stopping the DOJ from cracking down on state marijuana legalization without making a direct order that would have either been overturned by the orange menace or caused a federal lawsuit that ended Colorado and Washington’s mj initiatives before they even had a chance to make revenue. But no one understands me just like Louis CKs cousin. All I get is afterwords is “Yeah, but Obama could have rescheduled.” Yeah, like, Obama was only President of Harvard Law, what the fu€k does he know? Now Trump? He made Trump University! He aint asleep at the wheel! (@$*%!!)

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          @ Julian,
          Okay, I think I am catching up with you. I didn’t care for the video of the stand up act personally, but I get that you are, or were, frustrated because you couldn’t seem to get your point across.
          So, on that point, let me take a whack at it: you are asserting that, somewhat paradoxically, the Cole memo was actually better for us, strategically, than descheduling would have been, because it enabled de facto, partial, legalization, which yielded real-world data needed to debunk reefer madness, while at the same time, avoiding the legal risks of challenges to executive orders signed by President Obama. That was some three-dimensional chess that Obama played to win.

          Am I hearing you now? Is that close, or am I still missing your point?

          • Julian says:

            YES!!! You GOT it! Somebody give this man some free tickets to the next NORML legal seminar in Aspen!
            Whew! I really need to find another way to express this point in writing. Agreed, Louis CK’s offensive joke might not be the best allusion, but oh well, I laughed.

            The good news is now that state legislatures are modifying voter initiatives, to use your 3 dimensional chess analogy, they keep falling into a Queen’s Gambit… state legislatures are so greedy for Big Pharma’s off shore tax havens and campaign donations they just HAVE to delay marijuana initiatives… (hint to prohibition: that’s STILL legislatively enacted legalization) …so they take the bishop’s pawn and lose control of the center of the board… Massachusetts and Florida, by legislatively delaying voter initiatives in a way legalized marijuana in the view of Federal judges. Federal judges use legislatively enacted law to guide their decisions. A majority of states have legal mmj through initiative but only a few have partial legal mmj legislatively through amendments and revisions. That’s why Kevin Sabet at Project SAM dumped all his attention on Vermont Republicans to keep them from legalizing this year. Vermont was poised to be the first legislatively enacted legalization in the U.S. Sabet knows that’s a major threat to prohibition.
            The decision of the Mass SJC in Barbuto v. Advantage Sales in Marketing that slapped the supremacy clause out of the marijuana reform park was a game changer that allows the President more wiggle room to deschedule. Just maybe not THIS “President.”

            • Evening Bud says:

              Julian, thanks for spelling out that info about Project SAM. Though I remember the situation regarding Vermont and its process of legalization, I’d forgotten it of late. This explains why Project SAM is fighting it so hard.

    10. Miles says:

      I fully intend to dance on Jeff Sessions grave when he dies. It will be a happy dance! He is a total disgrace to our nation with his backward, authoritarian, racist views.

      It is astounding, and disturbing, that someone so willfully ignorant and uncaring about the people he is supposed to serve could rise to be in such a powerful position. He does not deserve it. He deserves to be a street beggar!