Monday, July 24, 2017

Will Trump Claim He's Firing Sessions Over Marijuana Crackdown Instead Of Putin-Gate?


Rep. Melissa Sargent represents Wisconsin's 48th Assembly District, which covers the east and north sides of the city of Madison and the village of Maple Bluff. Two weeks ago she introduced LRB-2457, a bill to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana in Wisconsin.

She told the media that her bill "is so much more than legalizing marijuana-- it’s about legalizing opportunity and prosperity. The state budget was due two weeks ago, and Wisconsin simply can’t afford to wait any longer-- we deserve a real plan to create new jobs and stimulate our lagging economy, and that’s what this bill is... Business as usual is simply not cutting it. We need to start thinking about new, innovative ways to jumpstart our economy. Wisconsin has a billion-dollar budget deficit, Republicans have no real ideas for fixing our transportation fund, and Scott Walker still hasn’t created the 250,000 jobs he promised six years ago. Meanwhile, in Colorado, legalizing marijuana generated $2.4 billion in economic activity and created more than 18,000 new jobs in a single year alone. The most dangerous thing about marijuana is that it’s illegal, and as our budget crisis worsens and we continue to see new evidence to support legalization’s economic benefits, the more unjustifiable-- and even foolish-- it becomes not to legalize... I’ve spoken with my Republican colleagues across the aisle, and some of them have expressed their quiet support for my bill. Given the severe budget crisis Wisconsin is facing, I am hopeful they can get past the 'D' next to my name long enough to give legalizing marijuana the earnest review and consideration Wisconsin deserves."

This will be the third try to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. There has never been a Republican co-sponsor to the previous bills and the Assembly Republicans have never allowed a public hearing. This new one has several innovation Sargent put in, including providing employment and benefit protections for marijuana users, requiring insurance coverage for medicinal marijuana for terminal illnesses, and incorporating marijuana into current alcohol and tobacco educational curricula in schools. The bill also treats marijuana as an agricultural product, requiring the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to conduct periodic inspections and to promote best practices for producing, harvesting, and packaging."

Ohanian takes on Sessions
Meanwhile, Trump's renegade Attorney General is preparing the go to war against marijuana again-- one of the agenda items on his to-do list that not everyone in the regime agrees with. On Sunday Lydia Wheeler reported for The Hill that Sessions is preparing a marijuana crackdown. She points out that Señor Trumpanzee's so-called Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, "is expected to release a report next week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking the plant."

Sessions is the most reactionary of anyone in the Regime on marijuana and he's been a strong advocate for stricter enforcement and for trampling on the laws states have passed legalizing marijuana, something Trump pledged he wouldn't do during the election campaign-- as false as ll the rest of Trump's pledges are turning out to be.
“The task force revolves around reducing violent crime and Sessions and other DOJ officials have been out there over the last month and explicitly the last couple of weeks talking about how immigration and marijuana increases violent crime,” said Inimai Chettiar, director of the Brennan Center's Justice Program.

“We’re worried there’s going to be something in the recommendations that is either saying that that’s true or recommending action be taken based on that being true.”

Sessions sent a letter in May asking congressional leaders to do away with an amendment to the DOJ budget prohibiting the agency from using federal funds to prevent states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” said the letter from Sessions, first obtained by and verified by the Washington Post.

As for the task force, Sessions said another subcommittee would “explore our use of asset forfeiture and make recommendations on any improvements needed to legal authorities, policies, and training to most effectively attack the financial infrastructure of criminal organizations.”

On Wednesday, Sessions reportedly re-established a controversial criminal asset seizure program ahead of the committee’s recommendations.

Local law enforcement leaders say a crackdown appears to be next, though they argue there’s no need for it.

“From a practitioner’s point of view, marijuana is not a drug that doesn’t have some danger to it, but it’s not the drug that’s driving violent crime in America,” said Ronal Serpas, the former superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department and co-chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration.

“That’s not the drug with which we see so much death and destruction on the streets of America. Crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and opioids is where we’re seeing people die on street corners fighting over territory or control.”

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and another 21 states allow the use of medical marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, but marijuana use is still illegal under federal law.

If Sessions ignites a fight over states' rights, Chettiar wonders whether it will spur Republicans into a showdown with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who publicly criticized Sessions for reversing Obama-era guidelines on criminal charges and sentencing in May, said he’s not in favor of the DOJ interfering with state policies regarding marijuana.

“I will oppose anybody from the administration or otherwise that wants to interfere with state policy,” he told The Hill this week.

Paul is part of a bipartisan group of Senators pushing legislation to allow patients to continue accessing medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution.

Legislation introduced last month by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Paul introduced-- known as the The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act-- would amend federal law to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies.

According to Politifact, Trump pledged to leave marijuana legalization up to the states while on the campaign trail. But last month he reportedly pushed back against the congressional ban on the DOJ interfering with state medical marijuana laws in a signing statement, asserting that he isn’t legally bound to the limits imposed by Congress. 

The DOJ’s likely move on marijuana comes amid rising tensions between Trump and Sessions.

Trump in an interview with the New York Times publicly dressed down Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, calling that decision “very unfair” to him.

Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone argued this week that Trump has been disappointed in Sessions.

“The president initially bonded with Sessions because he saw him as a tough guy,” he said in an interview with the New York Times.

“Now he’s saying: 'Where’s my tough guy? Why doesn’t he have my back?’ There’s a lack of aggressiveness with Sessions, unless it involves chasing people for smoking pot.” 

In an interview with The Hill, Booker called Sessions “one of the greatest threats to the safety of our local communities in America.”

“If you try to start prosecuting marijuana … you create more violence and more danger as well as greater government cost,” he said. “These policies that he’s doing ultimately go to the core of the safety of our communities.”

Though Sessions appears to be an obstacle for lawmakers and advocates who want sentencing reform, Booker said he’s not “insurmountable.”

“If we can overcome Strom Thurmond’s filibuster against the civil rights bill, we can overcome a U.S. Attorney General who is out of step with history and out of step with his party,” he said.

But Sessions isn’t alone in his views on pot. Though he said he believes in the need for sentencing reform, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed to agree this week that there needs to be stricter enforcement.

“I believe marijuana probably needs to be cracked down on, but we’ll see when he sends it over,” Graham said of the task force report.

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At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He lied during confirmation. He lied in front of the committee looking at Russia.
He lied when he "recused" himself.
He's a lying sack of shit, racist (qualifying him to be senator from Alabama), misogynist and a dipshit.

That said, he's among the BEST nominated by the dumbfucktard in chief.

If he goes, the next white dude will probably be worse and he'll be hired specifically to obstruct the Russia thing.

just a little fyi.

At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I looked, the Republicans never repealed IOKIYAR. They can do whatever they want no matter what just because the are GOP.


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