States Rights, Bitches!

These guys:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will roll back an Obama-era policy that gave states leeway to allow marijuana for recreational purposes.

Two sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed to The Hill that Sessions will rescind the so-called Cole Memo, which ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases.

The Associated Press first reported the decision.

Sessions, a vocal critic of marijuana legalization, has hinted for months that he would move to crack down on the growing cannabis market.

Sessions, since taking over as head of the Justice Department, has appeared to show a harder line on marijuana. In May, the attorney general sent a letter to congressional leaders requesting they get rid of an amendment in the department’s budget that blocks DOJ from using federal money to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Not only is this insane, but it will be completely unpopular:

At some point, we’re going to have to address the tyranny of the minority going on in this country, when backwoods rubes from a few red states are setting social policy for the vast majority of the country.






64 replies
  1. 1
    Stan says:

    “States Rights” indeed. They’re following the logic of the fugitive slave law…. and yes the comparison is obnoxious.

  2. 2
    Gin & Tonic says:

    This needs the “old man yells at clouds” tag.

  3. 3
    cmorenc says:

    So far all the marijuana-legalizing states are either solid blue, or at worst blue-leaning purple. That’s undoubtedly a factor in this, but all the publicity about California opening rec marijuana stores is probably what prodded Sessions into choosing now to spring into actual reaction.

    The core policy of every official in the Trump Administration is to do everything possible to piss off every liberal or moderate in the country, in order to please their reactionary racist base.

  4. 4
    MattF says:

    And

    backwoods rubes from a few red states… setting social policy for the vast majority of the country.

    is somehow not SOP? That said, it would be interesting if it was Sessions’ marijuana policy that ended up getting people to see the light.

  5. 5
    Jeffro says:

    @cmorenc: Even the reactionary racists like to smoke up…this is such a waste of time (yet another ‘standing on a beach, trying to stop a Cat 5’). Good luck, AG Sessions! You’re going to need it.

  6. 6
    Marmot says:

    At some point, we’re going to have to address the tyranny of the minority going on in this country, when backwoods rubes from a few red states are setting social policy for the vast majority of the country.

    How come you think that? The backwoods rubes in all the states are behind this crap—yes, in NY too—and the ones in Wisconsin and other Midwest states made sure we’re stuck with it this cycle.
    It’s like a kind of ideological blindness to pin it on a few red states—this is a fucking national, FOX News-fueled problem.

  7. 7
    eric says:

    This will help the GOP (re)capture the youngs. Go team Red!

  8. 8
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @cmorenc:

    The core policy of every official in the Trump Administration is to do everything possible to piss off every liberal or moderate in the country, in order to please their reactionary racist base.

    It really is that simple – government by spite.

  9. 9
    laura says:

    So Jeffbo’s planning to arrest the entirety of the west coast like it’s the Cartersville GA New Year’s Eve party?

  10. 10
    cmorenc says:

    One perversely ironic obstacle in Sessions’ way is the fact that because the DEA has stubbornly refused to reclassify marijuana from schedule 1, the recreational and therapeutic marijuana industry has so far had to evolve to run their businesses cash-only, entirely outside the banking system. That makes it much harder to grab any easy choke-points to shut it down. TRUE, it’s blatantly obvious where pot stores and commercial marijuana growing operations are, as e.g. rolling down I-70 in western Colorado would illustrate. Nevertheless, how eager and cooperative will most state and local officials be to focusing any of their resources and attention on Sessions’ alleged “problem” with these enterprises? Especially since MJ has quickly become a substantial contributor to tax revenues and local economies in legalizing states? If you’ve ever visited a pot shop, it’s immediately apparent how vigilant these operations are to check ID and run quiet, orderly operations, and with no on-premises consumption, unlike bars that serve alcohol. Any misbehavior in a pot shop by a customer will get you kicked out and banned quickly by the staff. The Federal manpower is already quite busy rounding up “illegals” – how much diversion of personnel can they muster for trying to stamp out MJ?

    I can see some HUGE green “TEA PARTY” rebellions against this in MJ states if Sessions tries to enforce this.

  11. 11
    Joe Falco says:

    @laura:

    I see what you did there.

    I hope something can be done through the courts that can at least slow down this backwards march away from progress.

  12. 12

    They don’t care about states’ rights and they never have. Not a bit. They point to states’ rights when they want to do something indefensible, and then throw them overboard when some other state wants to do something they don’t like.

  13. 13
    Ten Bears says:

    The Second Amendment provides redress for the tyrannies of the minority imposed upon the majority.

  14. 14
    WaterGirl says:

    I wonder if they are going after this so the blue states that are being screwed with the tax plan can’t recoup some of that money through taxes etc on pot.

  15. 15
    Quinerly says:

    Repug Reps calling for Sessions resignation…and it isn’t over his stance on Mary Jane: http://www.washingtonexaminer......le/2644934

  16. 16
    PST says:

    I can’t imagine any policy more likely to pull a few backwoods rubes off the Trump train. Not many, I admit, but I know Trump folks who are pretty committed to weed.

  17. 17
    kindness says:

    As a Californian, I don’t want to see the whip come down just after we finally legalized it for recreational purposes. I understand it’s a twofer for Sessions & his evil elves, he get’s to hippie punch and you and I know he’s going to be throwing Federal charges against everyone he can possibly touch all so they won’t be able to vote in future elections if convicted.

    What I really want to see is a trial with Jury Nullification. Yea the judge & prosecutor could throw fits (and try to throw out the verdict) but as far as I see, if red necks can Jury nullify TeaHaddists taking over a federal reserve for 3 months then it’s OK for our side too. Not that I expect the evil elves to follow precedent.

  18. 18
    oldster says:

    They just handed the Democrats a huge winning issue. I hope the Dems know how to run with it.

  19. 19
    Hoodie says:

    This goes right up there with ending the deduction for SALT as “surefire ways of committing political suicide.“ These guys seem to be locked in some sort of late ‘70s time warp, battling bell bottoms and long hair. The biggest pothead I know is a big time Trump fan. Maybe not for long, though.

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    Here in OC, the freeway-accessible, high-visibility building that once housed a Steinway piano dealer is now a 10,000 square foot dope emporium.

    I will leave it to each of you to decide whether that is progress.

  21. 21
    kindness says:

    @burnspbesq: Depends how good the product is, no?

  22. 22
    oatler. says:

    It kind of reminds me of the loony strategies the Nazis came up with in 1945.Just let’s not let Sessions run away to Switzerland.

  23. 23
    Vheidi says:

    @WaterGirl: that was my first thought as well, heard CA will get $1B in taxes just this year.

  24. 24
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I disagree with your premise. The core policy is to do the exact opposite of what Obama has done, or was blocked from doing by the RWNJs in Congress.

    Is there anything that President Obama did that Deadbeat Donald has not undone, tried to undo, or railed about in public? Can anyone name one thing?

  25. 25
    sixthdoctor says:

    Sen. Gardner isn’t happy and is issuing threats, presumably empty, but who knows?

    This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018

    I am 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.— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018

  26. 26
    Hungry Joe says:

    So if the Feds send officers (who? FBI?) to shut down our (California’s) cannabis emporiums, will our state police (Highway Patrol), sheriff’s deputies (unincorporated areas), and police (towns and cities) defend them? Will the first shot in the New Civil War be fired at a head shop in O.B. (Ocean Beach; a hippie-surferdude neighborhood of San Diego)?

    Someone had better get to work designing uniforms — the Zig-Zag man should be on there somewhere. We’ll need a National Anthem (gotta be “Truckin’ “). The flag is a done deal: marijuana leaf. On to Little Round Top! — or maybe Mount Tam; we’ll see how it plays out.

  27. 27
    DonL140 says:

    I live in Nevada. They’ll get my pot when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

  28. 28
    Brendan in NC says:

    I’ve got a friend in Georgia – diehard Trump supporter (we don’t talk politics often), but absolutely loathes Sessions. Precisely because Sessions is on a crusade against mary jane. And he uses mary jane to relax…

  29. 29
    VeniceRiley says:

    Welp. I got to enjoy myself for two whole days before Trump ruined it. Par.

  30. 30
    PVDMichael says:

    This is not just about Washington, Nevada and California. Don’t forget about medical. It’s legal in 29 states, and it polls even higher than just legalization. I think I saw a crazy number of 88% approval which is just unheard of.

  31. 31
    w3ski says:

    What is it in the mind of ‘Southerners’ that they have to tell the rest of the Country how to live? It’s as though they only have the “Light” and the rest of us are cretins. The lost their ugly war but they never gave up on pushing their ways on the rest of us.
    Go back down south an leave the Country Alone!
    w3ski

  32. 32
    Jay C says:

    Not only is this insane, but it will be completely unpopular:

    Not just to argue for argument’s sake, John: but when has this ever stopped Republicans from doing anything?

  33. 33
    AM in NC says:

    This move could definitely peel people away from Trump here in NC. Maybe not enough to vote for Democrats, but possibly enough to stay home come election time. The younger Trumpers I know (in their late 20s and 30s) ALL dig MJ and are super aware of the status of legality in each state. Democrats should definitely have a strong position on this issue – focusing on individual freedom; relative safety of MJ compared to alcohol; increased tax revenue for education and addiction treatment; reduced criminal justice costs to taxpayers; efficacy as an alternative to opioids for many people for pain management. The older right-wingers against pot aren’t going to vote for Democrats anyway, so you won’t lose their votes, and the arguments for legalization work for liberals and younger reactionaries.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    Support for pot legalization is, well, high, and getting higher.

    Sessions can’t harsh this buzz.

    News story about people standing in line an hour in West Hollywood (WeHo, soon to be WeedHo) to get legal weed. One guy interviewed said “I used to call this guy,” but prefers being able to openly buy, and being able to view a wider selection of products.

    Alcohol prohibition began to crumble when states stopped playing along.

  35. 35
    burnspbesq says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Imagine the following scene at your local Federal building.

    U.S. Attorney: “Genevieve, I’m assigning you to the Dope Emporium prosecution.”

    AUSA Jenny: “Boss, I have to recuse myself. I have a conflict.”

    USA: “What sort of conflict?”

    AUSA Jenny: “I’m a customer”

  36. 36
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @w3ski:

    What is it in the mind of ‘Southerners’ that they have to tell the rest of the Country how to live?

    I think they might say the same back to “Northerners”. Desgregation, anti-lynching laws, voters rights, freedom from religion court decisions, ……….I am sure some people more knowledgeable than me can list some other liberal laws and court decisions that have sent them around the bend.
    Funny how a lot of my list has to do with race, which is not an issue anymore since President Obama’s terms.

  37. 37
    cain says:

    Looks like California is going to be awashed with federal agents between ICE and FBI and what not, the federal govt is literally declaring war on the most populous and also one of the largest economies in the world. It is not going to end well.

    You might as well turn Colorado blue too while you’re at it. There is no way this state is going to let go of the revenues generated by mary jane. There is going to be a war with blue and purple states over this and federal govt is going to be spending a shit ton of money fighting it. Their calculation is that it’s only blue state so no danger.. but they are going to lose the next generation of voters. It won’t matter what is gerrymandered at that point since everyone will be against stupid old white men.

  38. 38
    burnspbesq says:

    @Hoodie:

    Maybe not for long, though

    He’ll find some way to reconcile those positions.

  39. 39
    Humdog says:

    How can DOJ do anything about state pot if they can’t spend any money on it?

  40. 40
    Frank McCormick says:

    At some point, we’re going to have to address the tyranny of the minority going on in this country, when backwoods rubes from a few red states are setting social policy for the vast majority of the country.

    I vote for John with a win for quote of the day. My only quibble: it’s not just social policy. The entire Federal Government is completely controlled by a minority: Republicans!

  41. 41
    matt says:

    wow, sure sucks for all the entrepeneurs investing in the new multibillion dollar industry. guess some burdensome government regulations are good, amirite?

  42. 42
    matt says:

    @Frank McCormick: our system is in a death spiral of nonrepresentativeness and it will only get worse – that’s the only way for the minority to hang on.

  43. 43
    cain says:

    Sessions is trying to kill a multi-billion dollar business.. that’s not going to sit well with many donors.

  44. 44
    ruemara says:

    @oldster:

    They just handed the Democrats a huge winning issue. I hope the Dems voters know how to run with it.

    Kinda tired of it being the Dems fault for voters choosing to be stupid, ignorant and vapid. Enough coloradans came out to vote just for weed legalization and didn’t fill out any other choices on the ballot. Fuck voter ignorance. Dems can’t educate people into doing shit for themselves.

  45. 45
    Steve in the ATL says:

    States’ rights arguments are so tiresome. Aside from the hypocrisy and inconsistency, states do not have rights. It’s in the constitution*.

    *may not apply to the Skousen version.

  46. 46
    VeniceRiley says:

    The lamentations of both MAGA boys and Wilmeristas is the only upside here.
    Is Sessions trying to make CalExit happen? Because I’d be fine with it if we can’t get sane officeholders in by 2018/2020.

  47. 47
    Markk says:

    “At some point” John, I’m ready right now brother. Whats it going to take? The reason they can rule is because we won’t do anything but whine on the internet….spend hours writing something about Ivanka or KellyAnne Naziface but not really do anything. We need to march in the biggest mass ever in history. March for voting rights, against gerrymandering, against Citizens Disunited, for equal rights, for weed. You know, : Democracy. They will poop their pants if we finally do something.
    My vote is for April 15th if we can wait that long. Surround the White House, IRS (Demand to see Trumps) Congress, pitchforks and torches but no guns no ammo.
    I’m just so pissed off trying to get medical marijuana for this old arthritic veteran in the South is a fricking nightmare. Treated like I’m a heroin junkie by pinheaded retrogrades like Sessions and ALL Trump voters. Fuck them. They need to be driven from the land.

  48. 48
    VincentN says:

    In May, the attorney general sent a letter to congressional leaders requesting they get rid of an amendment in the department’s budget that blocks DOJ from using federal money to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    This may be the saving grace. The DOJ will have to rely on state help in cracking down on MJ and the precedents against commandeering states to help in law enforcement or implementation are pretty strong.

  49. 49
    Hungry Joe says:

    @w3ski: Well, the rest of the country DID tell the South — and continues to tell the South — how to live: without slaves. Apparently there are Southerners who are still kind of steamed about that.

    Then we added injury to injury by mandating that African-Americans be given full rights as citizens, and that they be treated as human beings. I mean, how much is the South supposed to take before lashing out?

  50. 50
    BluegirlFromWyo says:

    @sixthdoctor: Between the SALT deduction cap he supported and this, Cory’s feeling a target on him when CO taxpayers get screwed both ways. This distancing should work as well as Bannon’s.

  51. 51
    Yabba says:

    Their best chance is to launch a conspiracy theory that the Blahs and the Browns have monopoly control of the legalized pot industry and are planning on raising prices through the roof and forcing cancer-suffering white grandmothers to take Obama Loyalty Oaths. The only hope is that law-abiding Real Amuricans keep it illegal.

    Alex Jones is working on the flow chart right now.

  52. 52
    No Drought No More says:

    Marijuana and Me: When I first smoked grass circa 1969 in San Francisco, ten dollars was the going rate of a big ounce bag (called “lids”). In the ensuing decades, many years often passed when I never smoked the stuff. But there came a time when I needed to wean myself from a bad beer habit- alcohol had got its hooks in me- and so I turned to cannabis again. It worked, too, insofar as I stopped drinking altogether, and am far, far healthier for it. What struck me most, though, was the stupendous difference in the quality of the smoke which had been cultivated in the meantime- it was profound. That was simply because farmers and individual smokers had cultivated ever more potent strains in the meantime. The high was made all the more enjoyable for it, much as fine wines from long cultivated vineyards are superior to wine from new vines.

    Marijuana is, by and large, a blessing just waiting to be economically exploited. It makes perfect sense that Wall Street has lined up billions to invest in the forthcoming bonzana. It makes perfect sense local governments (hereabouts, at least) are licking their chops in anticipation of future tax revenues. The marijuana industry is- even today- is as American as apple pie. It will only grow. Jeff Sessions (et.al.) is a utter fool to believe he can stop the entrepreneurial spirit behind it, and a small minded villain to try.

  53. 53
    Michael Cain says:

    @cmorenc: It’s also important to note that every state that has legalized recreational use has done so by ballot initiative. This has not been a subject that state legislatures, blue or red, have been eager to take on.

  54. 54
    Markk says:

    @Michael Cain: Thats because big alcohol and pharm don’t want it. Democratic opponents will get big $$ donors from Publix (see Fla.) who makes zillions/year off beer,wine and pharmacy. They don’t want to compete with a miracle drug like weed. I hate these people. Still, its an unstoppable wave and Democrats, at this point in time, are nothing but stupid cowards not to jump in. Plus, its the right thing to do!

  55. 55
    Markk says:

    @No Drought No More: great post. My first time was ’72. About $20 for a lid of Columbian.:)

  56. 56
    Hungry Joe says:

    @No Drought No More: I was across the bay, in Berkeley. I remember when lids went from $10 to $12. It was considered an outrage. The guy I bought from shrugged and said, “Inflation, man.”

  57. 57
    Dmbeaster says:

    Sessions could immediately prosecute everyone involved in “legal” pot sales because they are seriously illegal under Federal law, and the Supreme Court has already ruled that Federal pot law pre-empts all State laws legalizing pot. The Rohrabacher–Farr amendment first passed in 2014 bars the DOJ from spending any money to enforce the Federal law against medical marijuana use that is legal under State law – it has no application to State laws that regulate and legalize recreational use.

    Its just a matter of politics as to when and where the first prosecutions are brought. I am sure they will pick a forum based on political considerations as to who will be hauled to jail for this.

  58. 58
    Tim C. says:

    Didn’t pot get something like 4 million more votes than Tumperdink in Florida?

  59. 59
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Quinerly:

    Ha ha, from the same source, here is Colorado Dems’s response to Sessons:

    http://www.washingtonexaminer......le/2644979

    @sixthdoctor: Damn, so pot is going to be a bridge too far for Senator Gardner? HahaHAha!

  60. 60
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @cmorenc:

    If you’ve ever visited a pot shop, it’s immediately apparent how vigilant these operations are to check ID and run quiet, orderly operations, and with no on-premises consumption, unlike bars that serve alcohol. Any misbehavior in a pot shop by a customer will get you kicked out and banned quickly by the staff.

    This describes the pot shop I go to in eastern Washington perfectly. The people are friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. You choose what you want from the menu, and they write your choice on a slip of paper you take into another room where the transaction takes place. If you forget to bring cash, they have an ATM for your convenience. Since 2014 I’ve probably purchased about six ounces of weed (i only partake at night, mostly to help me sleep). Jay Inslee has vowed to fight the feds; we’ll soon see whether or not he’s serious.

  61. 61
    cmorenc says:

    @No Drought No More:

    The marijuana industry is- even today- is as American as apple pie. It will only grow. Jeff Sessions (et.al.) is a utter fool to believe he can stop the entrepreneurial spirit behind it, and a small minded villain to try.

    Jeff Sessions’ core ambition in wanting the US AG gig is to implement his nostalgic dream of restoring the social and cultural norms of Alabama (and the wider US) back during an imagined golden age during the 1950s during his youth, before the Civil Rights movement began to disrupt that formerly settled world he pines for.

    And he is a colossal fool and small-minded villain to think or try such a thing. He never evolved or learned a damn thing from the intervening years since then.

  62. 62
    scott (the other one) says:

    Sessions will rescind the so-called Cole Memo, which ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases.

    One has to assume it’s personal.

  63. 63
    NCSteve says:

    @Jay C: When has it ever kept them from getting reelected?

  64. 64
    J R in WV says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Doesn’t the 10th amendment of the Bill of Rights reserve rights to the states or the people thereof? I’ll grant that mostly “state’s rights” have been used for despicable things, like enslaving free black and native american peoples. And prohibiting liquor sales!!

    But now we have a chance to use them for additional freedom over what the Federal government (Mr Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III in particular!) wish to allow.

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