Tag Archives: Jeff Sessions

"We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,"

AlexisInThePatchesOfHopeGardenBeforeGroundBreaking

Jeff Sessions’s War on Pot Goes to Court, Attorney General Will Fight 12-Year-Old With Epilepsy

By Kate Sheridan On 1/18/18 at 7:59 AM

Updated | A 12-year-old suing the federal government may have a whiff of adorableness. But for Alexis Bortell, who filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions last fall, it’s a choice she had to make to save her life. Alexis has epilepsy, and Sessions has made it his mission to make it impossible for her to access the only drug that has kept her seizures at bay: cannabis.

A Scream of Terror

Alexis doesn’t remember her first seizure. But her father, Dean Bortell, does.

“We were literally folding clothes, and Alexis was sleeping on the couch,” Bortell told Newsweek. “All of a sudden, I heard her make this shriek—I mean, it was a scream of terror,” he said. “I look over, and Alexis is stiff as a board, on her back, spasming.”

At first, Bortell suspected his daughter had a brain-eating amoeba on account of headlines about them that summer and took her to the hospital. Within hours, it became clear something else was wrong. Alexis was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013.

Three years ago, Alexis began taking medical marijuana, and her seizures disappeared. But that treatment option is threatened by an aggressive federal crackdown on medicinal cannabis led by Sessions, who is also the acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

Her day in court—February 14, at a New York City federal courthouse—is fast approaching. Alexis won’t be there in person, but her lawyer, Michael Hiller, thinks the ruling will go their way.

“We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,” Hiller said. Several other plaintiffs—a former professional football player, a veteran and another child—are also included.

PLEASE CONTINUE READING…

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Ron Paul: Jeff Sessions should be fired over marijuana decision

By Alexandra King, CNN   Updated 9:00 AM ET, Sun January 7, 2018

(CNN)Ron Paul, the former GOP congressman and onetime presidential candidate, called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down Saturday after he moved this week to rescind the Obama-era policy of restricting federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal.

Sessions’ action essentially shifts federal policy from the hands-off approach adopted under the Obama administration to unleashing federal prosecutors to decide individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in those states.

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-two states also allow some form of medical marijuana, and 15 allow a lesser medical marijuana extract.

Paul told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that Americans should have a choice on marijuana use, and he called Sessions’ actions “unconstitutional.”

    “He represents something that is so un-American, as far as I’m concerned,” the Texas libertarian said.

    “The war on drugs, to me, is a war on liberty. I think that we overly concentrate on the issue of the drug itself, and I concentrate on the issue of freedom of choice, on doing things that are of high risk,” he said. “And we permit high risk all the time. … Generally, we allow people to eat what they want, and that is very risky. But we do overly concentrate on what people put into their bodies.”

    Paul called the war on drugs a “totally illegal system.”

    “Just because you legalize something doesn’t mean everyone’s going to do it, and then if you look at the consequences, of the war? Why don’t the people just look and read and study Prohibition? … (a) total failure. And the war on drugs is every bit as bad and worse,” he said.

    “People should have the right or responsibility of dealing with what is dangerous,” Paul insisted. “Once you get into this thing about government is going to protect us against ourselves, there’s no protection of liberty.”

    However, he said, he didn’t expect Sessions to be successful.

    “I predict that Sessions is not going to be victorious on this,” Paul told Smerconish.

    “And unfortunately, it’s for reasons that I don’t get excited about. It’s because the states want to collect all of those taxes (on marijuana), so it becomes this tax issue,” he said.

    CONTINUE READING AND VIDEO!

    Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement 1/4/2018

    Department of Justice

    Office of Public Affairs


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement

    The Department of Justice today issued a memo on federal marijuana enforcement policy announcing a return to the rule of law and the rescission of previous guidance documents. Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

    In the memorandum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.

    “It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”

    Attachment(s):

    Download Marijuana Enforcement 1.4.18

    Component(s):

    Office of the Attorney General

    Press Release Number:

    18-8

    Updated January 4, 2018

    SOURCE LINK

    The legacy of Manfred Donike

    Image result for manfred donike

    For all of his hard work attending school and graduating as a German Chemist, while participating in the Tour de France in the 60’s, Manfred Donike was most widely known as an “doping expert” and is credited with the first accurate urine testing procedures.

    He was Director for the Institute for Biochemistry at the German Sports University Cologne and head of drug testing operations at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

    Manfred Donike, at 61 years old, suffered a major heart attack and died in flight to Johannesburg to set up a drug testing lab for the All-African Games in August of 1995. 

    There is a Manfred Donike Institute, and a Manfred Donike Workshop which is closed to the public.  There is also a Manfred Donike Award !

    At the time of his death, Dr. Don Catlin, head of the Paul Ziffrin Analytical Laboratory at UCLA stated:

    “He devised all the chemical methods of identifying prohibited substances.  This is a staggering blow (to the anti-doping movement), but we will recover…”LINK

    The first thing I saw on google January 3rd,  while browsing the news was an article at the Daily Beast written by Christopher Moraff.

    Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Adviser Wants Doctors to Drug-Test Everyone

    I had to look two or three times with my glasses on just to make sure of what I was seeing.  I checked to see if it was a spoof – and it is not – as it is being reported by a number of news sites.

    I immediately thought to myself, “I wonder if Manfred Donike knew what would happen when he came up with the procedure for drug-testing?”  Did he have any idea that this testing would be used to imprison people throughout the World?  Did he know how many Children would be separated from their Parents for nominal use of any substance that the Government saw fit to deem illicit?  Did he know how many people would go to jail or prison or possibly a mental health facility for smoking Marijuana?

    Then, on January 4th we wake up to this news!

    Sessions to rescind Obama-era rules on non-interference with states where pot is legal

    Manfred Donike was appointed director of the Institute of Biochemistry at the German Sport University in Cologne in 1977, he is THE man who was responsible for the development of drug testing which is still used today.

    Single handedly he is responsible for more people being imprisoned or confined in facilities for drug use than any other person on Earth.   Whether or not he realized at the time what would happen we will probably never know.   Continuing long after his death the long arm of drug testing has nestled into every Country on the face of the planet and threatens to control all of Society at large for a long time to come… 

    His lab work also led to the massive drug bust at the 1983 Pan American Games  LINK

    Dr. Robert Dupont formerly of NIDA, Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), and several other notable anti-legalization Activists joined Mr. Sessions in a meeting to discuss the situation regarding the many States who have “legalized” Marijuana in December. 

    “I think it’s a big issue for America, for the country, and I’m of the general view that this is not a healthy substance,”  USAG Jeff Sessions  LINK       VIDEO LINK

    As the meeting was closed-door there was no initial reports except to the fact that it did take place.  Mr. Sessions said this about the meeting…

    We’re working on that very hard right now,” he said on Wednesday. “We had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length. It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it. And it represents a federal violation which is in the law and is subject to being enforced, and our priorities will have to be focused on all the things and challenges that we face.”(USAG Sessions) LINK

    As of this morning, we know what he decided to do!  The “COLE MEMO” will be rescinded.

    (CNN)In a seismic shift, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce Thursday that he is rescinding a trio of memos from the Obama administration that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, according to a source with knowledge of the decision. LINK

    If anyone thinks that it is not feasible for the Federal Government to drug-test everyone, they would be wrong.  The health-care system is set up as a monitoring system.  At some point everyone will have to see a doctor for illness. 

    A national model bill Dr. DuPont wrote in 2010 called for testing  anyone stopped for suspicion of DUI for all controlled substances, and arresting them if any trace amount at all is detected.

    “Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar, why not test for illicit drugs.”

    — Dr. Robert DuPont

    Ultimately, it will all lead you back to Agenda 21/30.  The total control of the people through the food and medicine (and plants) you consume.  Add to that drug testing at your local PCP and the NWO has us rounded up pretty well.

    The principle of fair play forbids saying someone is guilty without evidence.”

    Therefore, we MUST have evidence.  And what better way to have the evidence at hand than to routinely urine test every citizen  as part of our healthcare, as a way to keep us free from addiction?  Not to mention the fact that it is all conveniently entered into a computerized health care system for easy access by any Federal entity that is deemed appropriate at the time.  Sounds like a great plan to me…(!!) if I were interested in maintaining total control over the population and keeping the prison industrial complex flowing…

    Additionally, there was an article written by R. William Davis, entitled “Shadow of the Swastika – The Elkhorn Manifesto” which outlines the historical avenues which were taken to get us where we are at today.  Today, on the anniversary of Gatewood Galbraith’s death I invite you to take a look at it.  It is a very interesting and informative read.

    After the morning news today there isn’t much more to be said about what is happening unless they literally declare martial law across the Nation just to control the potheads.

    I can’t wait for the new “memo” to come out!

    I’ll keep you informed…

    RELATED:

    “Rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to purposes and principles of the United Nations.” HOW THE UNITED NATIONS IS STEALING OUR “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” TO GROW FOOD AND MEDICINE THROUGH THE U.N. CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND AGENDA 21.

    IMG_20140509_134339

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeff-sessions-marijuana-adviser-wants-doctors-to-drug-test-everyone

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txukr5zgHnw

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?438309-1/attorney-general-sessions-makes-remarks-drug-policy

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/flo-jo-passed-all-drug-tests/

    https://www.marijuanamoment.net/jeff-sessions-just-met-anti-marijuana-activists/

    https://www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-administration-considering-marijuana-policy-changes-sessions-says/

    https://fis.dshs-koeln.de/portal/en/organisations/manfreddonikeinstitut(370032ec-cc3e-4785-b263-4c184c4f91f8).html

    https://www.agilent.com/en/manfred-donike-award

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27732762

    http://mdi-workshop.com/login.php

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-08-22/news/9508220085_1_doping-chinese-athletes-drug-testing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_massacre

    https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/in-remembrance-of/gatewood/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/10/26/rights-and-freedoms-may-in-no-case-be-exercised-contrary-to-purposes-and-principles-of-the-united-nations-how-the-united-nations-is-stealing-our-unalienable-rights-to-grow/

    Sessions to rescind Obama-era rules on non-interference with states where pot is legal

    By Laura Jarrett, CNN Updated 10:07 AM ET, Thu January 4, 2018

    sessions mj

    (CNN)  In a seismic shift, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce Thursday that he is rescinding a trio of memos from the Obama administration that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.

    While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, creating a conflict between federal and state law.

    Sessions: DOJ looking at 'rational' marijuana policy

    Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

    The main Justice Department memo addressing the issue, known as the “Cole memo” for then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole in 2013, set forth new priorities for federal prosecutors operating in states where the drug had been legalized for medical or other adult use. It represented a major shift from strict enforcement to a more hands-off approach, so long as they didn’t threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and cartels.

      The memo will be rescinded but it’s not immediately clear whether Sessions will issue new guidance in its place or simply revert back to older policies that left states with legal uncertainty about enforcement of federal law.

      The decision had been closely watched since Sessions was sworn in. He told reporters in November he was examining a “rational” policy.

      CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

      Colorado girl suing U.S. attorney general to legalize medical marijuana nationwide

      Posted 9:24 pm, November 9, 2017, by Rob Low,

      LARKSPUR, Colo. — Alexis Bortell is hardly the first child whose family moved to Colorado for access to medical marijuana.

      But the 12-year-old is the first Colorado kid to sue U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions over the nation’s official marijuana policy.

      “As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis because it’s illegal in Texas,” said Bortell, who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a young child.

      The sixth-grader said traditional medicine wasn’t helping her seizures and doctors in her home state were recommending invasive brain surgery.

      But a pediatrician did mention an out-of-state option: Medical marijuana.

      Shortly after moving to Larkspur, Bortell’s family began using a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope.

      A drop of liquid THC in the morning and at night has kept her seizure-free for 2 1/2 years.

      “I’d say it`s a lot better than brain surgery,” Bortell said.

      But Bortell said the federal prohibition on marijuana prevents her from returning to Texas.

      “I would like to be able to visit my grandparents without risking being taken to a foster home,” Bortell said on why she’s joined a lawsuit that seeks to legalize medical marijuana on the federal level.

      Haleigh’s Hope.

      Since the 1970s the Drug Enforcement Agency has classified marijuana as a Schedule One drug, which in the eyes of federal policy makes marijuana more dangerous than meth or cocaine and on par with heroin.

      “How is that rationale? It’s not compassionate either, but rationality? It’s just outrageous,” said Alexis’ dad Dean Bortell.

      He showed his backyard fields, where he grows five acres of marijuana plants used to derive the medicine that helps his daughter and patients he’s never met.

      “When you look at it from a distance and you see it saving their lives, me as a father and an American, I go, what are we doing? How could you possibly look at someone who`s benefiting from this as a medicine and threaten to take it away?” Bortell said.

      Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

      Alexis’ New York attorney Michael Hiller argues it should be legal nationwide.

      “As it pertains to cannabis, the (Controlled Substances Act) is irrational and thus unconstitutional,” said Heller, who added the U.S. government “made a representation that cannabis has medical application for the treatments of Parkinson`s Disease, HIV-induced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and yet at the same time the United States government maintains that there is absolutely no medical benefit for the use of cannabis. That is of course absurd.”

      Denver attorney Adam Foster represents marijuana businesses.

      He said he thought the lawsuit was clever but admitted its success might be a long shot.

      “Whenever you sue the government, the deck is really stacked against you,” Foster said.

      But he added the federal government might have a hard time arguing medical marijuana has no known medical benefits.

      “We now live in an era where 62 percent of Americans live in a state where the medical use of cannabis is legal at the state level,” he said.

      Alexis Bortell said she hopes her lawsuit will normalize medical marijuana but also legalize it.

      “We’ll be able to be treated like what you call ‘normal’ families,” she said.

      Bortell is joined in the lawsuit by another child, a military veteran, a marijuana advocacy group and former Broncos player Marvin Washington, who played on the 1998 Super Bowl-winning team.

      The federal government has already lost its first motion to have the case dismissed.

      CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

      Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana

      Image result for marijuana

      By Lydia Wheeler – 07/23/17 07:30 AM EDT

      The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

      President Trump’s 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 sent a memo in April updating the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice Department (DOJ) component heads on the work of the task force, which he said would be accomplished through various subcommittees. In the memo, Sessions said he has asked for initial recommendations no later than July 27.

      “Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities,” he wrote. 

      Criminal justice reform advocates fear Sessions’s memo signals stricter enforcement is ahead.

      “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 Massroots.com 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.

      Tags Kirsten Gillibrand Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Jeff Sessions Al Franken Rand Paul Mike Lee

      CONTINUE READING…

      DOJ’s Mysterious Marijuana Subcommittee

      Submitted by Marijuana News on Wed, 06/07/2017 – 08:45

      Few details have emerged about a potentially influential review.

      Led by an outspoken legalization opponent, Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is reviewing federal marijuana policy, with significant changes possible soon. Almost nothing about the review process is publicly known and key players in the policy debate have not been contacted.

      The outcome of the review could devastate a multibillion-dollar industry and countermand the will of voters in eight states if the Obama administration’s permissive stance on non-medical sales is reversed.

      What is known: The review is being conducted by a subcommittee of a larger crime-reduction task force that will issue recommendations by July 27. The subcommittee was announced in April alongside other subcommittees reviewing charging and sentencing.

      The task force is co-chaired by Steve Cook, an assistant U.S. attorney in Tennessee who like Sessions advocates harsh criminal penalties and a traditional view of drug prohibition. The other co-chair is Robyn Thiemann, a longtime department official who works as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy.

      The marijuana subcommittee is led by Michael Murray, counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, U.S. News has learned.

      After graduating from Yale Law School in 2009, Murray ricocheted between law firms and public-sector jobs. He served less than a year as an assistant U.S. attorney in Virginia in 2013 before clerking for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to his LinkedIn page. He worked at the Jones Day law firm before joining the Trump Justice Department.

      Murray could not be reached for comment and Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior declined to comment on the “deliberative processes within the department“ when asked to discuss Murray’s role.

      The department declined to identify other members of the subcommittee, the scope of its policy review or name outside groups that are being consulted.

      The lack of information provided and the seemingly secretive nature of the review has proponents of a more lenient marijuana policy concerned.

      “It’s difficult to ascertain any clear information about the subcommittee and how they’re working,” says Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a trade group representing marijuana businesses.

      West says the group is focused on building relationships with members of Congress and points to overwhelming public support for respecting state marijuana laws — 73 percent, according to an April survey by Quinnipiac University.

      The Marijuana Policy Project, a large advocacy group that has led many of the successful state legalization campaigns, also says it is not in touch with the subcommittee.

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., a leading marijuana reform advocate, requested to meet with Sessions about the issue but was refused, says Rohrabacher spokesman Ken Grubbs.

      “Without knowing much about the approach the subcommittee is taking, it’s hard to say whether we’d expect them to reach out,” West says. “So far, [Sessions’] comments have not indicated a lot of willingness to work together toward common ground.”

      It’s unclear if agencies under the Justice Department’s umbrella, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, are contributing to the subcommittee.

      DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg told U.S. News on Tuesday that he is not personally involved in the review, and that he didn’t know if any of his subordinates are. A DEA spokesman was not immediately able to provide additional information.


      Vermont would join eight states and the nation's capital in allowing recreational pot use. State cannabis laws vary significantly and many are in the process of implementation.

      Eight states have laws authorizing regulated recreational marijuana sales. More than half allow medical marijuana. (STEVEN NELSON FOR USN&WR)


      Marijuana possession for any reason outside limited research remains a federal crime. Most state medical programs are protected from federal enforcement by a congressional spending restriction. Recreational programs are protected only by the 2013 Cole Memothat allowed states to regulate sales so long as certain enforcement triggers aren’t tripped, such as diversion to other states, distribution to minors, public health consequences and involvement of criminal groups.

      State-legal cannabis businesses hit $6.7 billion in estimated sales last year. Cannabis companies are believed to employ more than 100,000 workers and they collect hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal taxes.

      Listening to diverse points of view on marijuana policy is significant because the effects of regulated sales are debated, and data can be spliced to support a point of view.

      For example, multiple federal and statesurveys indicate that teen use of marijuana has not increased since 2012, when the states legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older. But use rates have fluctuated for years, so comparing current use to a particularly low-use year further in the past can offer a different impression about trends.

      Diversion to other states is also debated. A law enforcement task force called Rocky Mountain HIDTA claimed that intercepts of marijuana mail out of Colorado increased following legalization, sourcing the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. But a USPIS spokesperson told U.S. News state-specific records did not exist. Though state-specific records are not available, national parcel intercepts did increase in 2016 after two years of declines. Two states sued Colorado unsuccessfully claiming spillover.

      Mexican drug cartels, meanwhile, have been caught smuggling significantly lessmarijuana across the southern border. And it’s unclear if local increases in drugged driving arrests and marijuana hospital admissions are primarily the result of legalization policies or improved awareness and reporting.

      In April, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Sessions told him the Cole Memo was “not too far from good policy.” But the attorney general has repeatedly made clear his personal objection to marijuana use and legalization.

      In March Sessions scoffed at marijuana’s medical potential and evidence showing legal access associated with less opioid abuse. The prepared copy of a March speech called marijuana use a “life-wrecking dependency” that’s “only slightly less awful” than heroin addiction. In May Sessions said there was “too much legalization talk and not enough prevention talk.” Last year, he famously declared that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

      President Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign that he does not personally support marijuana legalization, but favors state autonomy. Recent national polls show roughly 60 percent of Americans believe marijuana use should be legal.

      CONTINUE READING…

      “…We need support in dealing with transnational criminal organizations and dealing with human trafficking – not in going after grandma’s medicinal marijuana,”

      marijuana

      Kamala Harris to Trump: Leave grandma’s marijuana alone

      By Sean Cockerham

      scockerham@mcclatchydc.com

      WASHINGTON

      Sen. Kamala Harris of California used the year’s first big 2020 presidential spotlight Tuesday to rail against Trump administration drug policies and call for easing laws governing marijuana.

      “Let me tell you what California needs, Jeff Sessions. We need support in dealing with transnational criminal organizations and dealing with human trafficking – not in going after grandma’s medicinal marijuana,” she said, referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

      Tuesday’s Ideas Conference, put on by the influential liberal think tank Center for American Progress, was a widely watched testing ground for a Democratic Party that is desperately in search of new leadership. More than 100 reporters signed up to cover the event, with hundreds of spectators in the audience at a ballroom in the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown.

      Harris’ address comes as the freshman senator broadens her profile, including in recent days an extended appearance on CNN’s “The Lead” and the commencement address at Howard University, her alma mater. Harris was among the most anticipated Democratic up-and-comers in an Ideas Conference lineup that also included oft-mentioned potential presidential candidates such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

      Harris insists she’s not thinking about a run for president but progressive leaders at the Ideas Conference were closely watching her with 2020 in mind.

      Michele Jawando, vice president for legal progress at the Center for American Progress, was struck by Harris’ decision to focus on Sessions’ criminal justice policies – an issue that’s been lost amid the fire hose of news about Trump’s Russia controversies.

      “(Harris) is without question someone we’re going to continue to talk about,” she said.

      Harris focused on Sessions’ new dictate that federal prosecutors pursue the toughest criminal penalties possible – including mandatory minimum sentences – for drugs and other crimes. Sessions is threatening to pursue federal marijuana prosecutions even in states like California that voted to legalized pot.

      “While I don’t believe in legalizing all drugs – as a career prosecutor I just don’t – we need to do the smart thing, the right thing, and finally decriminalize marijuana,” Harris said, in one of the strongest pro-pot statements that she has made in her political career.

      Harris called Sessions’ push for maximum sentences a revival of a failed war on drugs in which Latinos and African-Americans were disproportionately incarcerated and the nation’s drug issues only got worse.

      “Instead of going after violent crime, drug cartels, and major traffickers, we’re worried about the neighborhood street-level dealer,” she said. “Instead of addressing the core issue of addiction and getting folks into treatment, we’re going to overcrowd and build more prisons.”

      Harris told the progressive crowd that the issue offers an opening for them to ally with conservatives. Republicans including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky oppose harsh sentencing such as mandatory minimum terms as a useless destroyer of lives. And opioid addiction is devastating red and blue states alike.

      The Ideas Conference had Californians at the forefront of the Democratic Party’s search for leadership. California Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters were featured and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, a potential candidate for governor of California, made an appearance.

      Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, also a possible candidate for governor next year, gave the opening address.

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      DoJ Task Force Moves to Review Federal Cannabis Policy

      In a DoJ memo, AG Jeff Sessions called for a subcommittee on marijuana and an email shows the DEA inquiring about Colorado cases.

      By Aaron G. Biros

      In a memo sent throughout the Department of Justice on April 5th, attorney general Jeff Sessions outlines the establishment of the Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. That task force, largely focused on violent crime, is supposed to find ways that federal prosecutors can more effectively reduce illegal immigration, violent crimes and gun violence.

      The task force is made up of subcommittees, according to the memo, and one of them is focused on reviewing federal cannabis policy. “Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities,” the memo reads. “Another subcommittee will 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.” Those existing policies that Sessions refers to in the memo could very well be the 2013 Cole Memorandum, an Obama administration decree that essentially set up a framework for states with legal cannabis laws to avoid federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act.

      In the past, Sessions has said he thinks the Cole Memo is valid, but remains skeptical of medical cannabis. In the last several months, comments made by Sessions and White House press secretary Sean Spicer have sparked outrage and growing fears among stakeholders in the cannabis industry, including major business players and state lawmakers. As a general feeling of uncertainty surrounding federal cannabis policy grows, many are looking for a safe haven, which could mean looking to markets outside of the U.S., like Canada, for example.

      Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
      Photo: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

      Washington State’s former Attorney General Rob McKenna, Washington State’s former Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Moran, and Maryland’s former Chief Deputy Attorney General Kay Winfree recently went on the record identifying the BioTrack THC traceability system as fully compliant with the Cole Memo. “The key to meeting the requirements of the Cole Memorandum is ‘both the existence of a strong and effective state regulatory system, and an operation’s compliance with that system’,” says the former attorney general and chief deputy attorneys general in a press release. “As described above, Washington State has a robust, comprehensive regulatory scheme that controls the entire marijuana supply chain.

      The email sent to Colorado prosecutor Michael Melito

      The flagship component of this regulatory scheme is the WSLCB’s seed to sale inventory system, the BioTrackTHC Traceability System.” Those commendations from a former attorney general could provide some solace to business operating with the seed-to-sale traceability software.

      Still though, worries in the industry are fueled by speculation and a general lack of clarity from the Trump Administration and the Department of Justice. In an email obtained by an open records request and first reported by the International Business Times, a DEA supervisor asked a Colorado prosecutor in the state attorney general’s office about a number of cannabis-related prosecutions. The DEA supervisor asked for the state docket numbers of a handful of cases, including one involving cannabis being shipped out of state, according to The Denver Post. “Some of our intel people are trying to track down info regarding some of DEA’s better marijuana investigations for the new administration,” reads the email. “Hopefully it will lead to some positive changes.” So far, only speculations have emerged pertaining to its significance or lack thereof and what this could possibly mean for the future of federal cannabis policy.

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