DOJ to enforce marijuana laws?

George K
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January 4th, 2018, 6:10 pm #1

Under federal law, marijuana is still a Schedule I "drug".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removal_o ... s_Act#2017
wrote:Schedule I
The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

Examples: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, MDMA (Ecstasy), methaqualone (Quaalude).
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jeff-sessi ... ouncement/
wrote:Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a marijuana enforcement memo Thursday rescinding the Obama administration's guidance, which enabled states to legalize marijuana without federal intervention. His one-page memo makes it clear that marijuana possession and distribution is against federal law, and it will direct U.S. attorneys to approach these cases as they do all other cases when enforcing them.

The move now injects uncertainty into the growing industry in the regions of the country that have legalized the drug, CBS News' Jeff Pegues points out. Many are likely to be confused about whether it's okay to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where it's legal, since long-standing federal law prohibits it.

So far eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for recreational use, and it is now helping to fund schools and even law enforcement. California just began selling recreational marijuana in recent days. The new guidance threatens to upend sales by giving federal prosecutors more discretion in how they enforce federal law. According to a senior DOJ official, "This is the return of the rule of law," Pegues reports.

Sessions told reporters Thursday that the Obama guidance in the Cole memo -- written by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole -- wasn't consistent with federal law.

"It was interpreted as a safe harbor for individuals," Sessions said. "This memo does not have safe harbors in it."

He said that U.S. attorneys should understand that the attorney general believes marijuana is against federal law, and should there be prosecutions that need to be brought in order to enforce that law, "then they should" bring those cases.
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xenon
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January 4th, 2018, 6:13 pm #2

Sessions has some sort of pot hang up - this is dumb.

Also - they're hurting the pot stocks with their federal regulations.

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George K
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January 4th, 2018, 6:18 pm #3

xenon wrote:Sessions has some sort of pot hang up - this is dumb.

Also - they're hurting the pot stocks with their federal regulations.
I'm not saying whether this is dumb or not.

It is, however, the law, and federal law (dare I say) Trumps state law.

It's the AG's job to enforce federal law, isn't it?
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xenon
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January 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm #4

Fair - I'm saying it's a moronic law (especially schedule 1). But lets not pretend this isn't due to Sessions crusade against pot.
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Copper
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January 4th, 2018, 6:26 pm #5


Lock 'em up.

The Confederate soldier was peculiar in that he was ever ready to fight, but never ready to submit to the routine duty and discipline of the camp or the march. The soldiers were determined to be soldiers after their own notions, and do their duty, for the love of it, as they thought best. Carlton McCarthy
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Mikhailoh
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January 4th, 2018, 6:26 pm #6

Gosh, you seem to know an awful lot about what other people think and intend. :lol2:

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George K
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January 4th, 2018, 6:29 pm #7

xenon wrote:Fair - I'm saying it's a moronic law (especially schedule 1). But lets not pretend this isn't due to Sessions crusade against pot.
It's his job, crusade or not, to enforce the laws as written.

Think the law is stupid? Change it. There's a process for that, you know.
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Davis
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January 4th, 2018, 6:31 pm #8

xenon wrote:Fair - I'm saying it's a moronic law (especially schedule 1). But lets not pretend this isn't due to Sessions crusade against pot.
The man has to do something, right? :lol2:

Actually it's funny that smoking is bad except if it is a protected class.
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xenon
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January 4th, 2018, 6:48 pm #9

Mikhailoh wrote:Gosh, you seem to know an awful lot about what other people think and intend. :lol2:

Haha - whelp, I'm no Carnac. I know very little for certain, just riffing on what I think is likely.

Some of Sessions' quotes on marijuana:
wrote:"I think one of [Obama's] great failures, it's obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana... It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started 'Just Say No.'"

"You can't have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink… It is different… It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal."

"Good people don't smoke marijuana."

"We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it's in fact a very real danger."
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Copper
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January 4th, 2018, 6:56 pm #10

xenon wrote: Some of Sessions' quotes on marijuana:
wrote:"I think one of [Obama's] great failures, it's obvious to me, is his lax treatment in comments on marijuana... It reverses 20 years almost of hostility to drugs that began really when Nancy Reagan started 'Just Say No.'"

"You can't have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink… It is different… It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal."

"Good people don't smoke marijuana."

"We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it's in fact a very real danger."
Some obvious observations.

The Confederate soldier was peculiar in that he was ever ready to fight, but never ready to submit to the routine duty and discipline of the camp or the march. The soldiers were determined to be soldiers after their own notions, and do their duty, for the love of it, as they thought best. Carlton McCarthy
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jon-nyc
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January 4th, 2018, 6:59 pm #11

Legalization is the answer. Decriminalization is actually worse than keeping them illegal.

Sessions is just moralizing here.
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jon-nyc
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January 4th, 2018, 7:16 pm #12

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.
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Axtremus
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January 4th, 2018, 7:19 pm #13

George K wrote:It is, however, the law, and federal law (dare I say) Trumps state law.
Hmm ... may be the “states rights” champions will come to the rescue?
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Axtremus
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January 4th, 2018, 7:20 pm #14

George K wrote:
xenon wrote:Sessions has some sort of pot hang up - this is dumb.

Also - they're hurting the pot stocks with their federal regulations.
I'm not saying whether this is dumb or not.
So do you think it is dumb or not?
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Mark
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January 4th, 2018, 7:29 pm #15

Waste of money. Always has been, always will be.

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Mikhailoh
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January 4th, 2018, 7:38 pm #16

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George K
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January 4th, 2018, 7:54 pm #17

jon-nyc wrote:Adler’s take over at Volokh

http://reason.com/volokh/2018/01/04/wil ... sm-go-up-i
Interesting article.

At the risk of descending into what-aboutism, I wonder what Adlers take would be on other issues that have national consequences.

For example, would he have opposed the federal government's use of highway-funding as a cudgel to enact a national speed limit of 55 mph, even on roads that were not funded by the federal government?

Also, why is he not following the lead of his boss, who supports state-by-state legalization?

And this makes the most sense:
wrote:The only way to protect state-level marijuana reform efforts is to change federal law, either by ending federal marijuana prohibition or expressly allowing state reforms to proceed. Outright federal legalization of marijuana is unlikely — and might not be a good idea insofar as state-level reform efforts generate useful information about the best way for reforms to occur. Allowing different states to adopt different policies encourages policy experimentation and produces knowledge about the pros and cons of different legal regimes.
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Copper
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January 4th, 2018, 8:05 pm #18


Cities and states can make their own laws concerning handguns.

The states should also be able to decide if they want to establish a religion.
The Confederate soldier was peculiar in that he was ever ready to fight, but never ready to submit to the routine duty and discipline of the camp or the march. The soldiers were determined to be soldiers after their own notions, and do their duty, for the love of it, as they thought best. Carlton McCarthy
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xenon
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January 4th, 2018, 8:32 pm #19

Copper wrote:Cities and states can make their own laws concerning handguns.

The states should also be able to decide if they want to establish a religion.
As in Theocracyville, where coveting your neighbor’s wife will send you to county and swearing at your mom is a misdemeanor?

If enough people got together - could you throw down ShariaTown?
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George K
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January 4th, 2018, 10:51 pm #20

Another take: http://reason.com/blog/2018/01/04/sessi ... a-cannabis
wrote:Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a 2013 Justice Department memo that signaled a policy of prosecutorial restraint for state-licensed marijuana businesses. Rather than suggesting to U.S. attorneys how they should decide which marijuana cases to pursue, Sessions is letting them decide for themselves. Although that move reflects Sessions' well-known opposition to marijuana legalization, it is not clear how big an impact it will have on the cannabis industry, because federal prosecutors have always had broad discretion but limited resources in this area.

"Given the Department's well-established general principles," Sessions writes in a one-page memo he sent U.S. attorneys today, "previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately." He is referring mainly to a 2013 memo in which James Cole, then the deputy attorney general, said U.S. attorneys, in deciding whether to target marijuana suppliers who comply with state law, should be guided by "certain enforcement priorities that are particularly important to the federal government." Cole listed eight priorities, including the prevention of interstate smuggling, sales to minors, and drugged driving or other "adverse public health consequences." He added that "nothing herein precludes investigation or prosecution, even in the absence of any one of the factors listed above, in particular circumstances where investigation and prosecution otherwise serves an important federal interest."

On paper, the Cole memo left U.S. attorneys free to prosecute state-legal marijuana growers and distributors, as long as they could invoke an important federal interest. That would not have been hard, given the breadth of the goals specified by Cole and his warning that the list was not exhaustive. But in practice, U.S. attorneys since 2013 generally have refrained from targeting marijuana businesses unless they violate state as well as federal law.

Sessions could have tried to change that without rescinding the Cole memo. As a senator and as attorney general, he has said the memo provides sound prosecutorial guidance while suggesting that it has not been applied as aggressively as it should have been. He could easily have defended a broad cannabis crackdown based on the priorities Cole listed. Every marijuana merchant, for example, arguably contributes to drugged driving and underage consumption (through diversion from adult customers if not through lax ID checks), so shutting down the biggest operations through prosecution or forfeiture fits comfortably within the contours of the Cole memo. But Sessions has not attempted anything like that.

On paper, Sessions' memo does not change DOJ policy. By his own account, it merely eliminates gratuitous guidance that was already implicit in the DOJ's "well-established general principles." The question is whether U.S. attorneys will now be more inclined to go after the many highly conspicuous, state-licensed marijuana suppliers who are openly committing federal felonies every day. Although the Justice Department does not have the resources to prosecute all of them, a few raids, or even a few threatening letters, would seriously disrupt the industry.
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