Attorney General Jeff Sessions To Crackdown On State-Legal Marijuana

  • by NORML January 4, 2018

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Department of Justice’s hands-off policy towards state-legal marijuana.


    “By rescinding the Cole Memo, Jeff Sessions is acting on his warped desire to return America to the failed beliefs of the ‘Just Say No’ and Reefer Madness eras. This action flies in the face of sensible public policy and broad public opinion. The American people overwhelmingly support the legalization of marijuana and oppose federal intervention in state marijuana laws by an even wider margin. This move by the Attorney General will prove not just to be a disaster from a policy perspective, but from a political one. The American people will not just sit idly by while he upends all the progress that has been made in dialing back the mass incarceration fueled by marijuana arrests and destabilizes an industry that is now responsible for over 150,000 jobs. Ending our disgraceful war on marijuana is the will of the people and the Trump Administration can expect severe backlash for opposing it,” said Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director.

    The Cole Memo, a Justice Department memorandum, authored by former 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.

    During a Q and A with reporters in Richmond, VA in March of 2017, Jeff Sessions said, “The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,”

    Additionally in 2017, 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 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.”

    Currently, medical marijuana protections are still in effect, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    “At a time when the majority of states now are regulating marijuana use in some form, and when nearly two-thirds of voters endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or moral perspective for Attorney General Sessions to take this step” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “It is time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and to end the needless criminalization of marijuana — a policy failure that encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.”

    “If the Trump administration goes through with a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana, they will be taking billions of dollars away from regulated, state-sanctioned businesses and putting that money back into the hands of drug cartels,” Strekal concluded.

    224 responses to “Attorney General Jeff Sessions To Crackdown On State-Legal Marijuana”

    1. Nobody Special says:

      This is the end result of morons electing a traitorous, idiotic, nutcase Russian mafioso as illegitmate president.

      Thanks Deplorbales, and those too lazy to vote otherwise.

      • mark says:

        No, this is a tyrant attorney General who Is about to become the nations first Jack Ass Mascot for our nation . the problems he will creat will undoubtedly back fire to the point where the american people will demand he be terminated from his assinine possition. this Idiot thinks he can just go state to state and arrest and close shut it all down that easy ,NOT, some states have stated that they will not allow the utiliztion of any state officer or police man to assist in that pocess , so he better come with enough feds to take on each states armed Malitia because each state has its own laws and has inacted the abilities to protect its people from such a tyrant fedreal government . but this dune ass will learn the hard way its what the people say! believe that .

        • Dain Bramage says:

          @ mark,
          No. Trump is supporting this. This is all Trump’s fault, and it is Trump who will pay for it. Sessions does Trump’s will, that’s why he’s there.

        • Mark davis says:

          That monkey eared fuckin asshole needs his ass kicked.

          • WhatAbout says:

            What? Are all you dumbasses twelve? Sessions is doing his job. Just like a cop or a nurse. Think before you type. Change the law!! H.R. 1227 and H.R. 2020. By changing the law, the little man is powerless.

            Because you’re twelve, use your youthful energy and motivate a caucus to get the lazy politicians to do their jobs and CHANGE THE LAW!!

            H.R. 1227 & 2020.

      • Oh Bummer! says:

        Thank Obama for not taking MJ off the schedule and laughing it off as an issue when he was POTUS.

        • Julian says:

          If it wasn’t for Obama signing the Cole memos we wouldnt have any legalized marijuana in any states, you impudent troll.

          • me, too says:

            1. The Cole Memo, directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts,
            provided that the product is not diverted to the black market;

            the prohibitionist efforts of Jeff Sessions,
            WILL divert Marijuana into the black market;
            he can be arrested, tried, and imprisoned, for that.

            2. the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

            WHAT IF,
            they self-fund ????
            like they did with ‘iran-contra’ ???????

            3. “It is time to take action to comport federal law,
            with majority public opinion.”


            is SO true,

            for SO MANY issues…….


            may be our LAST CHANCE !!

            will we be free states ???

            will we be free people ???

            or will we be slaves,
            to a giant federal buracracy,
            with UNLIMITED POWERS,
            doing the EXACT opposite of our will ??

            is the time,
            to go beyond a ‘single issue’…

            is the time,
            to take on ‘federal supremecy’.

            the federal government DID NOT create the states;

            the states,
            created the federal government,
            to do OUR BIDDING….

            WHAT WOULD HAPPEN,
            if all 50 states,

            said that the federal government,
            was no longer was promoting their best interests,


            and that the federal government,
            NULL AND VOID ????


            NO POWER…

            OVER THE STATES ???

            4. at least Jeff Sessions is not PRETENDING to be on our side,
            like obomma was…

            • Julian says:

              Facts hurt dont they? Obama started his Presidency where the majority of Americans did not approve of full marijuana legalization until he was reelected in 2012. Trump just signed off on Sessions rescinding the Cole memos when Republicans just polled their first majority approval of legalization a few months ago. Go ahead and apologize for Trump. See where that gets you in November.

              As for Me, Too,

              Calm down and read this excellent ongoing coverage from Leafly;



              1). CA and CO US Attorneys could give a $#!+ about Sessions’ reversal. And so do old school, veteran dispensaries. Whole arm, middle finger up.

              2) Senator Gardner, R-CO just announced on the Senate floor he “will not confirm another (Trump) nominee” until Sessions “explains himself” or that is, rescinds this inflammatory decision. So much for your Federal Judge nominations Trumpanzees!

              3). Banking regulations under FINCEN are still active… which is just hilarious to me. Cannibanking undaunted forges ahead.

              Sessions you evil gnome… were going to punt you back into the portal of Hell that spawned you.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              @ meettoo,
              That’s just retarded.

            • WhatAbout says:

              It’s nice that you can type. CHANGE THE LAW!! H.R. 1227 & 2020.

              One point, this is all good for the state. Think like a big boy and move on to the national scale. Financial institutions are a must!! CHANGE THE LAW!! 1227 & 2020.

              Without the federal changing of the laws, these problems will cycle over and over.

              Change the laws!! H.R. 1227 & 2020

          • Anon says:

            Lol, way to be an apologist for Obama. The guy who never had the gall to actually make changes. He absolutely shouldve descheduled cannabis from the open joke of schedule 1.

            • Evening Bud says:

              I wondered when the Drumpf apologists would reappear. So, apparently all it took was an aggressive move by Drumpf’s AG, Sessions, to bring out the howlers: “All Obama’s fault, he should’ve . . . etc etc.”

              Once again, these Cons and Liberts can be counted on to completely ignore the actions of Drumpf and Sessions and turn it back on Obama. If they’d even tried to be objective in their comments, I’d have given them plenty of slack–but they can’t help themselves:

              “Our guy is terminating the Cole Memo? It’s all Obummer’s fault! He should’ve rescheduled pot! Now, our side has no choice but to crack down on legal pot! All Obummer’s fault! All Obumer’s fault! Oh, why did you make our guys have to crack down on legalization? You could’ve avoided this if Obummer had just rescheduled! Etc etc etc. Same old crap.”

              The party of “personal responsibility” once again passing the buck.

            • Sean says:

              What’s even funnier is people like you being an apologist for Sessions.

          • I rakuz says:

            medical marijuana was on the books way before cole memo was ever written. It did not make medical marijuana legal or possible .if OB wasn’t a bitch he would of rescheduled marijuana. Don’t call people names like troll bc your to ignorant to understand what what people are saying. Look over your right shoulder long enough and you will get fucked on the left. OB seems better but he was still an asshole!

            • Julian says:

              I’ve been reading and posting on this blog for every post since President Obama signed the Cole memos and I’ve learned how to identify a troll like you when I read one. Your desire is to seek division and chaos, not truth or facts. Otherwise your comment would not make you look as ignorant as you wish to be considered.

              Did you read up on the Cole memo? Did you click on the ACT tab and contact your Congressman like the rest of us? My guess is no, because you’re not interested in me telling you that were making bipartisan legislation to reform marijuana law right now… your interests are in treasonous division… and that you will receive but only in your own heart.

            • Sean says:

              It’s comments like your that aid, abet, and enable Trump/Sessions fascism. You aren’t really serious about cannabis freedom.

        • AG Lynch says:

          The only sane comment here. Democrats had two years of complete control to de/reschedule Marijuana. Obama thought he had the power to dictate by pen. That same power now belongs to Trump. Regardless if you are left or right, Congress itself needs to change the law. That is all Sessions is forcing them to do. Same thing with DACA.

          • Julian says:

            Right, because support, the economy and state marijuana circumstances in 2008 and 2009 when national support for marijuana were less than half of Americans is COMPLETELY identical to 2016 and 2017 when even most Republicans agree to reform marijuana, and the economy is booming thanks to all these states have legalized.

            Y’know, I would agree with you that Sessions is forcing Congress to act, but save your false equivalency bull$#!* because Sessions and Trump are only acting on their own personal interests.

          • Sean says:

            You act like Sessions is a friend of cannabis. Damn, this blog is getting infested with Trump and Sessions supporters.

          • Gary says:

            If Congress were to re/deschedule cannabis out of Schedule 1 Trump, the same one that said it’s a “states rights” issue, would assuredly pull out his veto pen. Why? Because he doesn’t like it, nor does his donors, or The Heritage Foundation. I hear Putin despises cannabis and those who use it. For any reason!

      • Eric B says:

        I’m a smoking deplorable, Sessions is just a rogue puppet of the old government. The states won’t enforce any arrests in where their own people have voted to legalize, so it will be just another dichotomy until schedule 1 is removed.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Eric B, that’s highly delusional thinking. You may need to up your meds.

        • Julian says:

          Trump can’t stop contradicting himself and you call Sessions a “rogue?” Trump h-i-i-i-i-r-r-e-d Sessions…
          You made your own bed. The rest of us are building a new one.

          • AG Lynch says:

            The Senate hired Sessions. They could of held up the confirmation.

            • Julian says:

              Denial is the first step on the 12 step program.

              The Senate CONFIRMS and APPROVES the nomination made by the PRESIDENT. Of course Republicans dont read the Constitution anymore they just steal SCOTUS.
              Since Im not even going to bother asking a troll like you if youve clicked on the ACT tab, how does it feel to have a Republican Senator block your DOJ nominees? Thats gotta hurt your feelings all huddled up on that cheap Russian monitor in a government building in Moscow.

        • Jason S. says:

          The States wont have any choice. He will use the FBI and the DEA.

          • Julian says:

            Not unless the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer anendment expires on the 19th. Click on the Act tab or the green “here” up in the dialogue of this webpage.

        • Djjsin says:

          Rogue puppet?! He was Trump’s first Senate supporter! He was Trump’s pick for AG! He’s not rogue!

      • Me says:

        Tell the Democrat morons to stop putting dumb ass liberals up for president who continue to go after our Constitutional rights and stop trying to make the government so big and their crazy spending. Or try voting Libertarian and break the asinine two party system we are currently stuck with. I did not vote for either crazy Clinton nor Trump, both of their politics are wishy washy although in my eyes Hillary is worse than Trump and a proven liar and psychopath and super crooked family. Regardless this current situation blows and needs to change. Here’s hoping the protections stay in place come January 19th.

        • Julian says:

          Here’s hoping you click on the Act tab and aren’t a Russian bot. Defecit? Dems? After what Republicans just signed into tax law? If you care about marijuana policy stop writing divisive, pointless, factless inflammatory comments and use the prescripted letters on the Act tab.

        • slow your roll says:

          What you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

        • Sean says:

          You are just as bad as the people that elected Trump. You think you sound clever, but you really helped to elect Trump and also helped to unleash a new and brutal drug war. Your shit stinks, you quisling! This drug war is on your head!

          • Me says:

            Yeah Ok, the Clinton family are saints. I believe in the Constitution first and foremost unlike the Communist liberals rising in the ranks. I believe the government should be small, get rid of the IRS and fair tax. Im making money on the new tax plan and not being hit with a lame fee if I choose to not have health insurance, big plus in my eyes. I did not waste my vote like most lemmings thinks happens when you vote third party, that’s asinine thinking. I have in fact wrote my Congress countless times about marijuana but I live in a state with a couple of old codgers that have the same thinking as Sessions but I keep writing hoping they will change their ways.

            • Me says:

              I have also wrote Trump asking him to stop Sessions from wasting OUR tax dollars going after states with some form of legalized marijuana. It OUR money that will potentially be wasted by Sessions and it goes against my views of wasteful spending in the government.

            • Julian says:

              Read my post on Trump’s executive order 13777. Trump gave authority to his puppet fovernment under Sessions and his Assistant AG to reverse the Cole memos all the way back in March of last year. That was Trump’s broken promise; Trump’s decision. Just like he chose to go into debt laundering money with the Russian mob then play with running for President just to wash his tax debt and get publicity at the expense of our Republic. Trump is a treasonous traitor. Focus on Congress and click on the ACT tab;


      • Dain Bramage says:

        Trump & company, and marijuana legalization, are 100% incompatible, because Trump is a fascist Russian operative, and because Fascism and marijuana legalization are 100% incompatible.

        We reject not only Jeff Sessions, but Trump as well, including Bannon, McConnell, Ryan, and the whole rest of the entire fucking fascist Trump shit-show.

      • Erick says:

        Couldnt vote work said if i left i would be fired.

      • Ha Ha says:

        No his actions and recommendations are completely constitutional and very American as Chevrolet, Baseball and pie.
        Here is the law.
        The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land.
        James Madison defends the Supremacy Clause as vital to the functioning of the nation. He noted that state legislatures were invested with all powers not specifically defined in the Constitution, but also said that having the federal government subservient to various state constitutions would be an inversion of the principles of government, concluding that if supremacy were not established “it would have seen the authority of the whole society everywhere subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the members”.
        What he is saying is the authority of the combined countries people (the USA) would be placed on a low level, really low and shallow, while increasing the authority of the lesser public and the lesser states.
        So although Marijuana is a luxury to a few in a few states the damages done to the entire citizenry of the US is enormous while remaining Federal laws apply to them and is discriminatory towards the subjective under standing regulation. until Sessions.
        Here we see Session doing his constitutional duty.

        • Julian says:

          No one is saying what Trump, Sessions and Assistant AG Brand just did to reverse the Cole memos is illegal. We’re saying it’s a predatory waste of resources and a threat to American lives and national security.

          Have you clicked on the ACT tab?

          Because I don’t know what you think the Supremacy Clause has to do with rescinding the Cole memo unless you either:

          A) Think it has something to do with some white supremacist dogma in the Constitution, or

          B) Are hedging your bets against the life, liberty and happiness of a legally regulated marijuana market at the federal level.

          Allow me to burst your Machiavellian bubble:

          Equal protection under the law and states rights under the 10th amendment guaranteed by the Constitution has already knocked out the Supremacy Clause for an mmj employee in Massachusetts in the case of Barbuto v. Sales & Marketing. If the only vocal Trumpanzee and US attorney wants to bring a case in Mass. using the Supremacy Clause I say bring it on.

          There are open cases reviewing the Constitutionality of marijuana prohibition under the 1st, 4th and 14th amendments as well in Washington v. Sessions.

          And in both cases the Commerce clause has come under scrutiny in the way that the supremacy clause can be interpreted.

          So what were you saying?

        • Dain Bramage says:

          @ ha ha,
          One of the great things about marijuana legalization is, you haters can have your judgmental opinions about us, but we stoners don’t ever have to worry about it anymore.

    2. Mary Freybler says:

      Thank you so much for the work you do! With criminals hanging off the White House lampposts…this guy goes after the kid with the seizure disorder!!!!!

    3. Sean says:

      And we the Trump voters to thank for this. They voted to unleash this new wave of prohibition, yes they did!

    4. Cat Cassie says:

      Trump is obsessed with undoing anything and everything President Obama did. If I piss off a trump lover TOO EFFING BAD!

    5. Peter Frank says:

      Watching Californians “celebrate” the end of prohibition, Sessions was probably seething at the news reports of the world’s sixth largest economy end prohibition. Despite poll numbers showing 60% plus favoring legalization and evidence from legal states that show no deleterious effects from legalization, Sessions ignores all of that and take us back 30 years to another pot war. So back to control by cartels and street dealers and wasted federal resources. Knowing Sessions views as one of the last prohibitionists this was predictable.

      • Matt says:

        California was why he acted.

        • Anon says:

          This story isnt even reporting anything he’s done this year.

          • Julian says:

            Because this the webpage for the national organization for the reform of marijuana law, not the Yahoo comments section you Russian troll! Did you click on the ACT tab? The green “here” button yet?!!

        • Eric B says:

          He’s worried more states will follow suit.

      • This Guy says:

        He can now hold it over them. “Stop being a sanctuary state or we are going to shut down all of your cannabis and arrest your people to payback the donations to trump from the private prison industry.”

    6. Markup None says:

      Dear NORML,

      I have supported you over the years because I believe you are for smaller government and states rights. AG Jeff Sessions is obstructing with the will of the people. Please get behind H.R.1227 – “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” and work to move this legislation through as expediently as possible. Get on TV and in the newspapers ASAP and start making the case, as you have done here so well. Many thanks for your good work.

      • Nj says:

        Yes! Please help the people of the USA to have access to healthcare which has proven to allow for the absence of opioids !!!! With the benefits of Cannabis, my husband no longer takes Oxycodone, Morphine, or Vicodin! How can we help to ensure the passage of H.R.1227 – “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017?. All believers rise up!! Is a march on Washington needed ? It is MY right as a citizen to make a decision for myself!

        • Julian says:

          Click on the Act tab and contact your Congressman, NJ. You can also call your Federal Congressman at 202-244-2131

          Donate to NORML.

          Check the NORML scorecard:


          And vet your local federal and state candidates.

          Do they support marijuana reform?

          Email and call your local candidates. Ask them. Hold our Reps and Senators state and federal accountable.


          Go to your local DMV or Post Office, pick up some voter registration cards and bring them to your next family bbq! We don’t get to complain… or let anyone else complain… if we don’t vote!

          That’s how we make a difference.

        • Darlene sanzotta says:

          I think it is far time to start letting all peole have the right to choose this plant as medicine for all everywhere and start healing,curing,stopping what all other medicines couldn’t or gave other serious side effects that made there condition have other problems on top of the onesthat didn’t even help the first condition not to forget to say how expensive the other meds were.From cronic pain,ptsd,epilepsy,post concusion,ms,chrons and the list goes on.this plant has shown over and over how well it works and more information keeps flying out more and more I ask please stop holding it back and herting and not healing many children and people for better quality of life and choice to choose our treatment or at least giving a change to try when all else fails us. Please use this opportunity to make many lives change for the better and cure what other medicines did not. Not to menshion what the money brings to every state to improve it self with. every state not just some equal everywhere for everyone no desgrimanaton there shouldn’t be it works it’s safe and could make a big deference for many.

    7. John O says:

      This is a GOOD thing because it will hasten the exit of this archaic curmudgeon from the national scene. The backlash from this will be huge. Sessions straight-up lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee when he said he would not go after weed.
      Jeff Sessions was the worst thing President Trump ever did.

      • douglas says:

        I hope u are right.

      • Cat Cassie says:

        Well he also lied under oath when he said he no contact with Russians. Bottom line…he’s a liar!!!

      • Jeffrey Bass says:

        I thought this was a joke when I heard it, I really hope this does drive a huge backlash. Depressing, though, and all this in the backdrop of one of the worst drug crisis in modern America (though marijuana is the gateway to opiates)…

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          @ Jeffrey Bass,
          You are incorrect. Marijuana is not a “gateway” to opioids. That is reefer madness.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ John O.
        Bullshit. Trump supports this Sessions crackdown, officially, directly from the White House spokesperson. Fuck Trump.

      • Negative Nancy says:

        The worst thing Trump ever did was run for President.

        • Julian says:

          I don’t know, Nancy; we still haven’t seen the pee-pee tapes. Let’s hope we don’t have to either!

    8. Milky says:

      I guess the Mexican Cartels are happy with this news. The waste of money on this is senseless while we have our youth dying everyday of opioid overdoses.

      • Julian says:

        Sessions IS the world’s premier cartel. He represents Purdue and Insys Therapeutics who are buying up all the poppy growing land in Mexico and feeding it to us without oversight because the head of the opioid cartel IS AG Jeff Sessions. Who prosecutes pharmaceutical companies for paying off doctors, overprescribing opioids and getting away with murder? The AG: Jeff Sessions. Who recommends drug policy to the President and Congress as head law enforcer of the U.S.? The AG: Jeff Sessions.

        Mexican cartels are beholden to U.S. drug policy. I’m in Mexico. I can tell you how it all works if you click on the ACT tab and write your Congressman now.

    9. John O says:

      The Sessions aim in the Marijuana area is to take away states rights so the Feds can go after the states concerning sanctuary cities and states.
      That’s why he changed so much so quickly. They realized the sanctuary states will use the Marijauna issue to establish their right to snub their nose at the fed.

    10. Matt says:

      We had to see it coming. The war begins.