Thursday, January 04, 2018

Has Trump Set A Marijuana Trap For Sessions?


Bernie, responding to Jeff Sessions push to drag the country backwards on marijuana legalization: "No, Attorney General Sessions. Marijuana is not the same as heroin. No one who has seriously studied the issue believes that marijuana should be classified as a Schedule 1 drug beside killer drugs like heroin. Quite the contrary. We should allow states the right to move toward the decriminalization of marijuana, not reverse the progress that has been made in recent years."

Also today, Cory Booker noted that as of the first of the year California, Maine and Massachusetts joined the growing list of states that legalized recreational marijuana but a couple of days later Trump’s crackpot Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced that he will end the current policy of federal non-interference, so that the Justice Department could crack down on marijuana in states where it has been legalized for recreational use. “For decades,” Booker treminded his supporters, “the failed war on drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders, especially for marijuana-related offenses. This has wasted human potential, torn apart families and communities, and squandered massive sums of taxpayer dollars. That's why I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to call for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. If passed into law, the Marijuana Justice Act would have an immediate impact on our criminal justice system, policing, our communities, and even the economy. This legislation would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level. The bill would also incentivize states to change their marijuana laws if those laws are shown to disproportionately affect low-income individuals and/or people of color. The Marijuana Justice Act would be applied retroactively for those already serving time for marijuana-related offenses, providing for a judge's review of marijuana-related sentences. That means that we could reduce our prison population-- a goal that Democrats and Republicans alike have claimed to support. State governments have, so far, led the way in reforming our failed drug policy and in beginning to fix our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the federal government isn't doing its share-- and Sessions, among his many offenses, is working actively to undermine the progress in this area. We can't let Sessions roll back our progress, criminalize more Americans, and terrorize our communities by doubling down on failed drug policy.”

So what exactly did Sessions do? Well… he certainly directly violated Trump’s campaign promises on marijuana. Candidate Trumpanzee was always very clear, especially on states’ rights on this issue and especially on medical marijuana. In October 2015, he tolda rally in Nevada “the marijuana thing is such a big thing. I think medical should happen” and then on a Michigan radio station in March of 2016 he said “I think that it should be up to the states.” Addressing the issue of medical marijuana legalization on Fox News he stated flatly “I’m in favor of it a hundred percent”-- pretty unequivocal to people who voted for him, right? Maybe Sessions wasn’t paying attention? This week “he rescinded an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country…Instead of the previous lenient-federal-enforcement policy, Sessions' new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it. Sessions' plan drew immediate strong objection from Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of eight states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Gardner said in a tweet that the Justice Department "has trampled on the will of the voters" in Colorado and other states. He said the action would contradict what Sessions had told him before the attorney general was confirmed and that he was prepared "to take all steps necessary" to fight the step including holding up the confirmation of Justice Department nominees.

Sessions rescinded the policy by president Barack Obama's Justice Department that has generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where the drug is legal.

"In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department's finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions," by considering the seriousness of the crime and its impact on the community, Sessions wrote in a one-page memo to the nation's federal prosecutors.

The move by Trump's attorney general likely is sure to add to confusion about whether it's OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where the drug is legal.

It comes just after shops opened in California, launching what is expected to become the world's largest market for legal recreational marijuana and as polls show a solid majority of Americans believe the drug should be legal.

…Sessions, who has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and has blamed it for spikes in violence, had been expected to ramp up enforcement. Marijuana advocates argue that legalizing the drug eliminates the need for a black market and will likely reduce violence, since criminals would no longer control the marijuana trade.

The Obama administration in 2013 announced it would not stand in the way of states that legalize marijuana, so long as officials acted to keep it from migrating to places where it remained outlawed and keep it out of the hands of criminal gangs and children. Sessions is rescinding that memo, written by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, which had cleared up some of the uncertainty about how the federal government would respond as states began allowing sales for recreational and medical purposes.

The marijuana business has since become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar industry that helps fund some government programs. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and California's sales alone are projected to bring in $1 billion annually in tax revenue within several years.

But the Sessions Justice Department believed the Cole memo created a "safe harbor" for marijuana sales that are federally illegal, Justice Department officials said. Sessions in the memo called the Obama guidance "unnecessary."

Sessions' policy will let U.S. attorneys across the country decide what kinds of federal resources to devote to marijuana enforcement based on what they see as priorities in their districts. Officials couldn't say what the ultimate impact will be on the legal industry or whether it will lead to more pot prosecutions.

Nor is it clear how the memo might affect states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes. A congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed. Justice officials said they would follow the law, but would not preclude the possibility of medical-marijuana related prosecutions.
Since 2014, Congress has included the Rohrabacher-Farr rule-- now the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer rule-- in appropriations bills which would defund the ability of the Justice Department to use federal power to usurp state laws allowing medical marijuana use, distribution, possession or cultivation. Sessions persuaded Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) to prevent the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment from coming to a vote in the House.

Some think Trump has encouraged Jeff Sessions to create ill-will and havoc so that he’ll have a non-Putin-Gate reason to fire him as Attorney General and replace him with someone who will put an end to the Mueller investigations. Trump- whisperer Roger Stone has been on the warpath against Sessions anti-marijuana jihad and his group, the United States Cannibis Coalition is working with Free the People, Matt and Terry Kibbe’s libertarian group. Stone’s board members include the Kibbes, Bill Maher, Curtis Sliwa, Judge Anthony Napolitano, Florida trial attorney John Morgan uniting many on the left and the right, as well as non-partisan advocates for combat veterans and individuals who use marijuana for medical needs.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) this afternoon: “I’m extremely disappointed in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attempt to disregard the will of the people and return us to the days of prohibition and the war on drugs.

“At a time of broad public support for marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform, we should be moving forward-- not going back to outdated and harmful policies that do little to enhance public safety and disproportionately hurt people of color.

“Washington voters led the way in legalizing marijuana five years ago, taking an important step in reducing mass incarceration, strengthening public health, and bolstering our economy-- and I will fight for them. I will be working with my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan way to address this issue. Republicans who have an actual commitment to state’s rights should speak out now against this decision.”

MI-06 progressive candidate Paul Clements issued a statement today immediately after Sessions’ decision came down:
Opioid abuse is killing thousands of Michiganders-- but Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants you to worry about marijuana.

Today, with the legal marijuana industry in its infancy, it’s the opioid manufacturers that get heard by Congress. My opponent, Rep. Fred Upton, is one of the heroes of the industry. In 2015, Upton’s powerful Energy and Commerce Committee helped Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania gut DEA enforcement efforts meant to keep pills from reaching the black markets.

The drug companies didn’t like having their potential profits curbed, and ponied up for Upton, Marino and bi-partisan ally Rep. Judy Chu. And the drugs flooded in-- with more prescriptions in Michigan than we have people: 11 million prescriptions in 2015 and 2016, a bottle of opioids for every man, woman, and child in our state.

We can’t count on Upton to protect us-- he’s profiting off our deaths. Upton is the NUMBER ONE recipient of pharma campaign cash in the House, with more than $1.3 million in pharma cash in his career.  “No one works harder to protect drug company interests in Congress than Fred Upton,” the Michigan Democratic Party said.

Upton, Jeff Sessions, and the pill manufacturers dislike marijuana because it can be grown easily, by patients and their co-ops, and it’s effective for pain: studies on opioid abuse in states where medical marijuana is legal have found 23 percent fewer opioid-related hospitalizations and 25 percent fewer opioid-related deaths.

It’s also clear from the history of legalization in 29 states plus the District of Columbia that marijuana should not be a Schedule 1 drug. In Congress, I would join Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in support of federal decriminalization.

It’s easy to say that Jeff Sessions is the problem here-- he’s a reprehensible man who, according to a colleague, joked that he thought the KKK was OK until he learned some members smoked marijuana. But Sessions is backed up by millions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying dollars from a drug industry that doesn’t want to see marijuana degrade their profits.

The opioid industry would rather see thousands of Michiganders die than allow legal marijuana to flourish in a single additional state.

So far, the benefits of legal marijuana have been far too great for states to back down to federal prohibition. Colorado last summer passed the half-billion mark in new tax revenues from legal cannabis sales. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican, responded to Sessions today with a swift tweet alleging betrayal by the AG: “I’m prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.”

And in California, where marijuana went legal with the New Year, thousands of drug offenders will have their records cleared thanks to the new state law, easing employment challenges. The Drug Policy Alliance estimated as many as 1 million Californians could be eligible for record review.

We can’t allow Upton, Sessions, and the pill industry to undermine good public policy. Your support today will help me fight for the truth about opioid abuse and corporate greed, and for sensible decriminalization and harm reduction laws.
Goal ThermometerTim Canova, the progressive Democrat taking on corrupt Democrat Debbie Wassermann Schultz in South Florida told us today he’s “troubled by the Trump administration’s war on marijuana. After decades of a failed war on drugs and mass incarceration, the federal government should be embracing principles of federalism and the role of the states as “laboratories of change.” We should support state experiments with cannabis legalization and respect the individual rights of law-abiding adults to use cannabis in a responsible manner. Prohibition and mass incarceration has been a disaster. The use of cannabis, opioids, and other drugs should be seen as public health issues and their overuse as symptoms of wider societal problems. Too many people are self-medicating for depression and pain. The response should not be criminalization, but to better understand the nature of this mass depression. We need to provide people of all ages with far greater employment and educational opportunities to give meaning and purpose to their lives. We should also recognize that cannabis has medically recognized therapeutic value is not harmful to individuals, families, and communities like other drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine, and opioids. The federal government has a legitimate role to play in preventing criminal enterprises from infiltrating legal markets, including the market for cannabis. But beyond this, states should be able to experiment with their own approaches to medicinal and recreational cannabis, consistent with the will of their voters and public health concerns.”

Meanwhile, state Rep. Kaniela Ing (D-HI) told us that “Sessions wants to revive the failed war on drugs and make American criminal justice even more systemically racist. Big surprise. We're ready to go. In Congress, I will support Cory Bookers Marijuana Justice Act. But right now, I'm writing bill as a State Legislator to legalize adult-use cannabis in Hawaii regardless of what the AG wants to do. Trump and Sessions are two generations behind the rest of us, and we're taking America back to the future.”

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At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

trump has broken every other campaign promise. what, you thought he was serious... ABOUT THIS ONE?

Wake the fuck up.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Gadfly said...

What Anonymous has said, plus the fact that Trump is too disorganized to set such a trap. Even by DWT posts, this one is pretty weak.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In order to win, tRump always breaks a few promises. After all, are promises not just a negotiating strategy to get the other guy to agree to something s/he wouldn't necessarily do normally? Just ask Susan Collins about her vote for the Republican Rape of the American Middle Class. McConnell made her a few promises which will never be fulfilled just for her yes vote. Why would tRump be any different when winning is everything?

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan Collins more likely succumbed to the demands of their donors who insisted on getting their tax cut or else. But with republicans it's always hard to tell.

Now when (or if) Pelosi ever gets the gavel back, the reason she won't do shit to fix anything is absolutely, no doubt, beyond ANY shadow of doubt, her donors telling her what to do/not do. It's easy to tell.

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:17, campaign promises are made to make some number of incredibly stupid people think you are someone you are not.

Someone with trump's history and record (sociopathy, racism, sexual predation, stupidity) needs a lot of similarly racist PLUS some more incredibly stupid voters to believe. But even WITH those, which are a given in this shithole, he still needed the democraps to nominate someone as horrible as $hillbillary or he could not have won.

His populist gamble just barely worked on the really stupid ones. kkkarl rove got cheney/bush elected twice with similar luck among just the right number of drooling morons.

Only a drooling moron believed bush was compassionate; and it takes a truly brain dead dipshit to believe trump is a populist.

But America is lousy with the droolers and the brain dead. Lucky for them.


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