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August 07, 2017 10:12 AM UTC

Sad Trombone For Jeff Sessions' Marijuana Crackdown

  • by: Colorado Pols
Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

As the AP reports via the Cannabist, a much-feared report on the effects of legalizing marijuana hat many believed would supply a pretext for Attorney General Jeff “Reefer Madness” Sessions to crack down on marijuana sales–which would be destructive to the economies of legal states including Colorado:

The betting was that law-and-order Attorney General Jeff Sessions would come out against the legalized marijuana industry with guns blazing. But the task force Sessions assembled to find the best legal strategy is giving him no ammunition, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views. The group’s report largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana.

It encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance that has allowed the nation’s experiment with legal pot to flourish. The report was not slated to be released publicly, but portions were obtained by the AP.

Sessions has been promising to reconsider that policy since he took office six months ago. He has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and blamed it for spikes in violence. His statements have sparked support and worry across the political spectrum as a growing number of states have worked to legalize the drug.

That this memo failed to sustain Sessions’ fire against legal marijuana probably won’t change his mind personally, but it will make it harder for Sessions to gain support if he tries anything to stop the legal sale of recreational marijuana. Republicans in legal marijuana states, as we’ve discussed previously, have little appetite for helping Sessions carry out what would be a politically self-immolating as well as economically harmful act.

This is all taking place against the backdrop of on-again-off-again speculation about Sessions’ future as Attorney General. Just a couple of weeks ago, Sessions appeared to be on the way out as President Donald Trump’s newest fixer Anthony Scaramucci openly said as much in the media. Today, Scaramucci is gone and Trump hasn’t bashed Sessions publicly in several news cycles.

As of today–though subject to change–Sessions remains on the job, and legal marijuana remains for sale.


12 thoughts on “Sad Trombone For Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Crackdown

  1. Guess Jeff Hunt from Colorado Christian University didn't get the message. He's got an opinion piece on Yahoo News; from USA Today; where he says that marijuana has devastated Colorado and should not be legalized nationally. I read the article and it's full of propaganda; almost all of it non-substantiated. Almost all the article commenters take him to task for his fake news. But it's typical writing for fundamentalist Christians who want to control everyone's lives.

    1. These guys are citing sliced-and-diced statistics from law enforcement sources.

      Controversial former Denver DA Mitch Morrissey tried to derail Amendment 64 pre-election last year, and it looks as though he did most of the slicing and dicing.

      Snopes has a good rundown on it:

      Is Marijuana Responsible for Colorado Crime Increase?

      mj's takeaways:

      Morrissey said that "marijuana related traffic deaths went up 48%".  So out of 871 traffic deaths in CO, 105 tested positive for cannabis. But most were using pot plus some other substance, usually alcohol. Cannabis with nothing else accounted for 33% of those 105 deaths. So about 35. 35 out of 871 is about 4% of all deaths in CO traffic were only marijuana related – much smaller than "distracted driving" (12%)  or alcohol related deaths. (33 – 38% % in most jurisdictions – CO doesn't track auto fatalities statewide with only alcohol impairment).

      More homicides in Aurora and Pueblo are opiod and heroin related, say the police in those jurisdictions.

    1. I have some acquaintance with the "demonic spirit of drunkenness."

      It is nothing like the "fine buzz of good weed"

      Go back to your sacramental wine, Gordy…. 

  2. Just as Sessions feared: the Grateful Dead…
    Heard your plea in the courthouse/Jury box began to rock and rise/Forty-nine sister states all had/Alabama in their eyes…Alabama getaway…

    1. So let me get this straight, Mods.

      "States rights" are important when trying to prevent Democrats from voting.

      "States rights" are important when trying to prevent women from using Planned Parenthood clinics, or accessing abortions from any clinic.

      "States rights" were important when states wanted to allow / not allow abortion. The Supreme Court disagreed.

      "States rights" will be important if Republican congresspeople succeed in getting a health care plan that  block grants Medicare / Medicaid funds so that every state treats poor, sick, disabled and elderly people differently.

      "States rights" were important when states wanted to allow/ not allow LBGT folks to get married. (The Supreme Court disagreed).

      "States rights" allowed southern states to gerrymander for partisan advantage ….but the Supreme Court disagreed. ( I bet you really hate that one).

      The only time States had a Constitutional Convention was to repeal Prohibition in 1933. And guess what? They undid a Federal law against alcohol and gave authority to states to determine importation and regulation.

      My point is that if you're relying on "state's rights" to protect you from the evil weed,  you're on shaky ground legally. I predict that if a case goes to the Supreme Court for country-wide access to medical cannabis, the Supremes will rule in favor of access. Recreational, probably not so much.

      So again, if you're counting on SCOTUS to prohibit marijuana, it's not going to happen. If you're counting on a Constitutional Convention to prohibit marijuana, it will probably have the opposite effect.

      States tend to be relieved from or voluntarily give up their "rights" when the case involves equal treatment for citizens throughout the country.

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