March 2018

States unhappy with rollback of hands-off federal guidelines on pot laws

(CNN)Several states that allow marijuana use reacted with frustration to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescinding of Obama-era guidelines that established a hands-off approach to their marijuana-friendly laws.

While a number of states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, it is still illegal under federal law. Among the Justice Department memos, the “Cole memo” in 2013 released a directive to federal prosecutors, adopting the non-interference policy.
Federal prosecutors nationwide now will decide how to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where its use is legal.
    Here is how some state officials reacted:


    “Today, Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration destructively doubled down on the failed, costly and racially discriminatory policy of marijuana criminalization, trampling on the will” of voters, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
    This week, California became the eighth state — along with the District of Columbia — to allow recreational sales of marijuana after voters approved the measure in 2016. Another 22 states allow only medical marijuana and 15 allow a lesser medical marijuana extract.
    Newsom said Sessions’ move “flies in the face of overwhelming public opinion of a vast majority of Americans, who support marijuana legalization.”
    “I call on our federal leaders to move quickly to protect states’ rights from the harmful effects of this ideological temper tantrum by Jeff Sessions,” said Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco.


    Colorado officials were surprised by the announcement, state Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman said.
    “I will say that there was no warning about this guidance. We had no idea it was coming, and like you, we woke up this morning to the news that there was new direction from Attorney General Sessions,” Coffman said.
    “It is unfortunate that the people who are on the ground working with marijuana enforcement issues every day … were not consulted before this guidance was issued, because I think we definitely could have shed some light on that,” Coffman said.
    She said there is a lot state officials still don’t know the Justice Department’s enforcement priorities and how it plans to implement the new memo.
    But Coffman said she doesn’t foresee a major shift in Colorado in the current marijuana enforcement and regulation.
    “We will continue as a state to exert our right as a sovereign state to control what happens in our borders with regard to marijuana regulation and enforcement,” she said.
    In 2012, voters in Colorado passed a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
    Colorado’s US Attorney Bob Troyer said Sessions “directed that federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions.”
    Troyer said his office “has already been guided by these principles in marijuana prosecutions.”


    Gov. Kate Brown said some 19,000 jobs had been created by the marijuana market.
    “Reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will roll back federal marijuana policy are deeply concerning and disruptive to our state’s economy,” she said.
    Oregon voted in 2014 to legalize personal possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older.
    Brown said “the federal government should not stand in the way of the will of Oregonians.”
    Brown said her staff and state agencies “will fight to continue Oregon’s commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market.”
    Oregon’s US Attorney Billy J. Williams said his office will work with state and local officials on several areas, including “stemming the overproduction of marijuana … dismantling criminal organizations and thwarting violent crime in our communities.”

    Washington state

    Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that he was “especially frustrated” by reports the “Cole memo” would be rescinded. Inslee called it “the wrong direction for our state.”
    “It is also disrespects Washington voters who have chosen a different path for our state,” he said.
    Washington voters passed a law in 2012 to legalize marijuana for adults over 21. The first dispensaries started opening in 2014.
    State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he was “disappointed and troubled” by the news.
    “Over the past year, Sessions has demonstrated a stunning lack of knowledge about our state’s marijuana laws,” Ferguson said.

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    Marijuana legalization by the numbers

    Washington (CNN)Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he is rolling back Obama-era guidelines that stopped the federal government from enforcing its anti-marijuana laws in states that have marijuana-friendly laws, CNN reported Thursday.

    The change, depending on how it is administered, could affect states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use — and would go against strong public opinion backing federal deference to state rules.
    Federal law says marijuana is illegal, but a majority of states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing its use for medical reasons. Fewer states have made it legal for recreational purposes, although with California’s official legalization of recreational marijuana in the new year, Sessions’ move could set up a legal showdown between the federal government and the largest and richest US state.
      Eight states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — plus the District of Columbia allow recreational sales of marijuana. Another 22 states allow only some form of medical marijuana and 15 allow a lesser medical marijuana extract.
      Five years ago, recreational marijuana wasn’t legal anywhere in the United States.
      A broad 64% of Americans say they support the legalization of marijuana, according to a Gallup poll in October — the highest mark in more than four decades of polling.
      The poll shows legalization has support from 72% of Democrats — up from 61% over the last three years — and even a slim majority, 51%, of Republicans — up from just 34% in the same time span.
      Medical marijuana, for its part, has nearly universal support in the United States, according to an August poll from Quinnipiac University. An overwhelming 94% of adults — including 96% of independents, 95% of Democrats and 90% of Republicans — support it.
      A broad three in four Americans, 75%, say they oppose enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational use of the drug, according to the same poll. Republicans are most likely to back enforcing federal laws anyway — but that number is still just one in three.
      The latest numbers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that 44% of Americans over the age of 12 have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. A majority, 52%, of people ages 18 to 25 have used it in their lifeline, including 33% in just the last 12 months.
      Legal pot has grown to a $6.6 billion industry, with seven in 10 dollars going for medical marijuana and three in 10 going for recreational marijuana. The overall industry has been projected to quadruple over the next decade, according to New Frontier Data, a research company that analyzes the marijuana industry.

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      Vermont moves to legalize pot as feds signal possible crackdown

      (CNN)On the same day the Justice Department signaled a possible federal crackdown on marijuana use, lawmakers in Vermont passed a bill that would legalize the drug for recreational purposes.

      The state House voted 81-63 on Thursday to pass a bill legalizing possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to legislative records and House Clerk William MaGill.
      “Substance use should be treated as a health care matter, not as a crime,” said Rep. Brian Cina of the state’s Progressive Party, records show. “By passing judgment on others for the way that they deal with pain or seek pleasure, one further fuels the stigma that drives addiction.”
        The bill next heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass, and Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has said he will sign it, according to CNN affiliate WCAX.
        The bill is similar to one Scott vetoed last year but includes stricter penalties for stoned drivers and for those who provide pot to children.

        Federal policy in flux

        Lawmakers’ approval came the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded three memos from the Obama administration that had set up a hands-off policy toward marijuana-friendly states.
        Although several states have legalized possession, cultivation and distribution of pot in recent years, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Sessions’ move indicates the end of the laissez-faire attitude of recent years and gives prosecutors more leeway in deciding whether to commit resources to stopping marijuana use, even in states that have legalized the drug.
        In Vermont, state Sen. Dick Sears, a Democrat, said he wasn’t sure what the new federal guidance would mean locally.
        “I’m not sure how much it will affect us. It might affect our medical marijuana, which would be a bigger concern because that is where the state is regulating and the state is allowing the sale of it,” Sears told WCAX.
        In the US, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

        Vermont and marijuana

        Vermont, the “Green Mountain State,” could soon become the first state to legalize marijuana by passing a law in the legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure.
        Long one of the most liberal states in the country, Vermont legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2004 and recently decriminalized possession of a small amount.
        This is Vermont’s second attempt at passing a marijuana bill in the past year. State lawmakers last spring passed a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
        But Scott vetoed the bill, saying it did not adequately protect public safety. He said he was generally a “libertarian” on the issue but asked for more protections against stoned driving and children’s access to marijuana.
        “I am not philosophically opposed to ending the prohibition on marijuana, and I recognize there is a clear societal shift in that direction,” he said at the time. “However, I feel it is crucial that key questions and concerns involving public safety and health are addressed before moving forward.”
        Scott also said he wanted any such bill to include an “impairment testing mechanism” that police could use to determine whether a driver is stoned. However, there is no marijuana Breathalyzer-style product on the market.
        Scott set up a Marijuana Advisory Commission to study the matter. Its report is expected later this month.

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        Legal marijuana cuts violence says US study, as medical-use laws see crime fall

        Murder and violent crime found to have decreased most in states bordering Mexico as drug cartels lose business to regulation

        Legal marijuana cuts violence says US study, as medical-use laws see crime fall

        Murder and violent crime found to have decreased most in states bordering Mexico as drug cartels lose business to regulation

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        Lawmaker Says Black People Can’t Handle Marijuana Because Of ‘Genetics’

        Put this in your pipe and smoke it: A Kansas lawmaker thinks marijuana should be illegal because he said black people are genetically unable to handle its effects.

        State Rep. Steve Alford (R) spoke out on Saturday against legalizing pot using the type of racist “logic” commonly heard when “Reefer Madness” was considered a serious documentary.

        “What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States,” Alford said, according to the Garden City Telegram. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”

        You can hear Alford make his anti-cannabis comments in the video below: 

        Kansas is one of the few states that still hasn’t legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the Associated Press.

        The Telegram pointed out that Alford’s comments appeared to be based on the theories of Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of what was then called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which was behind the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

        Some of the very racist and hysterically anti-cannabis quotes attributed to the agency include these whoppers:

        • “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

        • “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

        • “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

        Although Alford, who represents a district in western Kansas, stood by his remarks when questioned after the meeting, he was unable to cite a specific source for his so-called science to the Telegram. However, he admitted he shouldn’t have singled out African-Americans.

        “There are certain groups of people, their genetics, the way their makeup is, the chemicals will affect them differently,” Alford insisted. “What I should have said was drugs affect people differently, instead of being more specific.”

        On Monday, Alford denied that his remarks were racist to AP: “To me, that’s neutral. Basically, I got called a racist, which I’m really not, and it’s just the way people — the interpretation of people. To me, I’m trying to look at what’s really the best for Kansas.”

        Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Alford’s comments were inappropriate for a politician in 2018.

        “It is hard to believe that in 2018, anyone would support the discredited and racist policies of the Jim Crow-era,” Brewer said in a statement to KSN TV. “No matter one’s feelings on medical marijuana and marijuana legalization, we can all agree that views like those of KS Rep. Alford have no place in our statehouse, in our state or in our country.”

        State Rep. Valdenia Winn (D), who represents part of Kansas City, called Alford’s comments “bizarre.”

        He needs to apologize to somebody, if nothing else the individuals of color in his own community,” she told the Wichita Eagle. 

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        This Pot Company Posts Record Sales as CEO Eyes Deals

        Medical-marijuana company Aphria Inc. posted a 39 percent jump in second-quarter revenue to C$8.5 million ($6.8 million), exceeding the most recently reported figures of larger peer Aurora Cannabis Inc. and giving it the second-highest quarterly revenue of pot-specialty companies globally. Aphria remains upbeat, even as the increased legalization of marijuana is called into question after a move by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to revoke policies that allowed its spread and warnings of a possible de-listing. At a conference in Toronto on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Vic Neufeld stated plans for several acquisitions that will target expansion in four more states.

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          Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don’t know

          Whats the evidence behind medical cannabis? While many attest to its healing powers, research into the full potential has long been legally restricted

          Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don’t know

          Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don’t know

          Whats the evidence behind medical cannabis? While many attest to its healing powers, research into the full potential has long been legally restricted

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          Jeff Sessions to crack down on legalized marijuana, ending Obama-era policy

          Attorney general to end lenient enforcement of federal marijuana laws, days after new legalization measure took effect in California

          The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is rescinding an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, creating new confusion about enforcement and use just three days after a new legalization law went into effect in California.

          Instead of the previous policy of lenient federal enforcement begun under former attorney general Eric Holder in 2013, Sessions new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it. Guidance issued on Thursday depicted the change as a return to the rule of law.

          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, Sessions said in a statement.

          Sessions plan drew immediate strong objection from the Republican senator 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.

          The move by Trumps attorney general is sure to add to confusion about whether its 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 worlds largest market for legal recreational marijuana.

          This instability will only push consumer dollars away from these state-sanctioned businesses and back into the hands of criminal elements. With nearly two-thirds of Americans, including an outright majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents supporting marijuana legalization, this is not just bad policy, but awful politics and the Trump administration should brace itself for the public backlash it will no doubt generate, said Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

          Altieri also noted that the announcement throws the jobs of more than 150,000 Americans employed in the budding legal marijuana industry into limbo.

          For politicians who purport to believe in small government and states rights, this is a wildly incongruous move, said Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director at the American Civil Liberties Union.

          While Sessions has been mostly been carrying out a justice department agenda that follows Trumps top priorities on such issues as immigration and opioids, the changes to marijuana policy reflect his own long-held concerns. Trumps personal views on marijuana remain largely unknown.

          A budtender assists a customer at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

          Sessions,though,has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and has blamed it for spikes in violence, had been expected to ramp up enforcement. His personal crusade against the substance has been well documented throughout his political career, including his over a decade in the Senate. He once famously quipped that he admired the KKK until he found out they smoked marijuana.

          The Obama administration in 2013 announced it would not stand in the way of states that legalized 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 the 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 Californias sales alone are projected to bring in $1bn annually in tax revenue within several years.

          Sessions and some law enforcement officials in states such as Colorado blame legalization for a number of problems, including drug traffickers who have taken advantage of lax marijuana laws to illegally grow and ship the drug across state lines, where it can sell for much more. The decision was a win for marijuana opponents who had been urging Sessions to take action.

          There is no more safe haven with regard to the federal government and marijuana, but its also the beginning of the story and not the end, said Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who was among several anti-marijuana advocates who met with Sessions last month. This is a victory. Its going to dry up a lot of the institutional investment that has gone toward marijuana in the last five years.

          Threats of a federal crackdown have united liberals who object to the human costs of a war on pot with conservatives who see it as a states rights issue. Some in law enforcement support a tougher approach, but a bipartisan group of senators in March urged Sessions to uphold existing marijuana policy. Others in Congress have been seeking ways to protect and promote legal pot businesses.

          Marijuana advocates quickly condemned Sessions move as a return to outdated drug-war policies that unduly affected minorities.

          It also cannot go unnoted that this policy will have a disproportionate and disastrous impact on people of color, McCurdy said.

          Although black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates, black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

          The War on Marijuana, like the War on Drugs, has failed by almost every measure with the exception of successfully destroying communities of color, McCurdy added. Todays decision furthers entrenches the country in racially biased, fiscally irresponsible, and morally wrong drug policy.

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          Marissa SafontJeff Sessions to crack down on legalized marijuana, ending Obama-era policy
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          Why federal cannabis crackdown may be a blessing in disguise for legal weed

          Dont panic, legalization advocates say: Jeff Sessions anti-marijuana policy will have little practical impact and may even hasten the formal end of prohibition

          Now that the dust has settled around attorney general Jeff Sessions promise of harsher federal marijuana enforcement, advocates of legalization have largely exchanged their initial disappointment over the move for one of long-term optimism.

          I think there was a knee-jerk reaction of something approaching panic, but once everyone calmed down, theyve come to realize that practically this is going to have little impact, said Patrick Moen, a former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who now works as council to an investment firm in the nascent legal marijuana industry.

          Some, like Moen, even believe the decision could be the best thing for the growing marijuana movement, hastening the formal end of weed prohibition in the US.

          There will probably a short term chilling effect, but this could ultimately be the best thing thats ever happened to accelerate the pace of change, Moen said.

          Play Video
          California’s marijuana muddle video explainer

          The markets have reflected this somewhat counterintuitive sentiment. The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks 15 leading publicly traded legal marijuana-related companies, initially dropped 21% on the heels of the Department of Justice (DoJ) announcement, but it turned out to be a blip. By early this week the index had rebounded to within a few points of its one-year high.

          Sessions announcement formally rescinded guidance, known as the Cole Memo, issued by the Obama-era DoJ that essentially told federal prosecutors to respect state laws with regards to marijuana. Importantly, though, Sessions decision did not direct or incentivize US attorneys to pursue marijuana cases, it just allowed them to if they so choose.

          The Cole Memo guidance was eminently reasonable and was a common sense good policy, Moen said. I think that despite the fact that its been formally rescinded, federal prosecutors will effectively continue to abide by it.

          Donald Trump with attorney general Jeff Sessions. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

          One of the primary reasons concern has been tempered is that Sessions announcement is not actually likely to ensnare individual marijuana users into the criminal justice system.

          Federal prosecutors almost never pursue simple possession charges against recreational users, whether in states where it is legal or not.

          According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, 99% of those serving federal sentences for marijuana-related crimes were convicted of trafficking offenses, which typically relate to quantities far in excess of what individual recreational users would have.

          It is unlikely that this will affect them in any tangible negative way, other than depriving of the ability to buy marijuana legally, said Justin Strekal, Political Director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml).

          The Sessions memo is unlikely to trigger a nationwide dragnet of marijuana users, and is also unlikely to cause wide-scale disruptions to legal cultivators, Moen notes.

          If federal prosecutors decide to go rogue and start charging otherwise compliant state businesses, theres going to be repercussions with regard to their relationships with the local [law enforcement], Moen said.

          Strekal notes, however, that because of civil-forfeiture laws, local law enforcement would have one very good reason to work with federal agents seeking to enforce marijuana laws on legal weed businesses. Although local law enforcement cant bust those businesses on their own they arent breaking any state or local laws by joining with feds to enforce federal law, they get to claim a portion of any assets seized in a potential drug raid.

          The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance protests the Jeff Sessions decision to rescind the Obama-era policy. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

          In an area where you have a prohibitionist minded sheriff or a law enforcement agency, they will look at state-lawful marijuana facilities and see a big pile of money, Strekal said.

          The 4 January move by Sessions was sandwiched by two major wins for legalization advocates. On the first of the month, recreational weed became legal in California, after more than a decade of a quite lax medical marijuana program. Then on 10 January, Vermont became the first US state to legalize the substance with an act of legislation, rather than a popular referendum, as has been the case in states like California, Colorado and Oregon.

          The decision may ultimately precipitate another win, as Moen observed. Within hours of Sessions announcement, a bipartisan group of legislators had come out against the decision and some, including Hawaii senator Brian Schatz, announced that legislation was already being crafted that could overrule Sessions, by changing the extent to which Marijuana is classified as illegal at the federal level.

          Its great that weve had a number of members of Congress over the course of the last six days last week step up and say what the attorney general did is wrong. Now time for every single one of those members of Congress to put their names on the pending legislation, Strekal said.

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          Colorado Senate Dems make a hilariously great case for legal pot.

          Earlier today, real-life “Dukes of Hazzard” villain Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III announced plans to crack down on marijuana in states that have legalized it.

          In a three-paragraph Justice Department memo, Sessions directed U.S. attorneys to disregard past policy about turning a somewhat blind eye to pot when it came to the more than two dozen states that have legalized it for medicinal or recreational use, saying, “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.”

          Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

          The official Twitter account for the Colorado state Senate Democrats took aim at Sessions’ push in a thread equal parts informative and amusing.

          Legal weed has been around in Colorado for quite awhile, with voters approving a medical marijuana ballot measure way back in 2000, and giving the thumbs up to recreational use in 2012.

          By most accounts, legal weed in Colorado has been a pretty big hit  — which Colorado’s Senate Democrats laid out in excruciating detail.

          Hearing news about Sessions’ plan to fight the states on this, they kicked off an epic Twitter thread with what’s just a clearly great joke: “We’ll give Jeff Sessions our legal pot when he pries it from our warm, extremely interesting to look at hands.”

          With that one-liner out of the way, they laid out a really strong case for letting states handle this. For one, it’s really, really been great for the economy. “Since legalization, marijuana has generated $617,767,334 in tax revenue,” read one of the tweets. “Instead of going to drug cartels, that money helps fund our schools and addiction treatment programs for more dangerous drugs.”

          They went on to list a number of projects funded by the state’s “Build Excellent Schools Today Act” program, which gets some of its funding from marijuana taxes.

          “Is your school’s roof TOO NICE?” another tweet read. “Jeff Sessions is on the case.”

          They concluded as they started: with a joke. “If only there was some way we could mellow him out,” they pondered.

          Public opinion on marijuana legalization continues to steadily climb, marking Sessions for the political anachronism that he is.

          According to an October poll from Gallup, 64% of Americans think it’s time to legalize pot. The truth is that most people simply don’t care what others decide to do with their body and their free time. By and large, it’s not dangerous — at least no more than alcohol or cigarettes — and its reputation as a “gateway” to harder drugs has been mostly debunked.

          Sessions’ vendetta against marijuana is widely known. He’s said “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and in the 80s remarked, “I thought those guys [the Ku Klux Klan] were OK until I learned they smoked pot,” and as recently as last March, suggested that it’s just as dangerous as heroin. We get it, Jeff. You don’t like pot.

          Even Donald Trump seems to know that public opinion isn’t on the side of regressive Drug War-era enforcement, going so far as to say that his attorney general wouldn’t do what his attorney general is doing right now (Trump lies a lot, guys).

          Even Cory Gardner, Colorado’s Republican senator, understands that beefing up federal enforcement of anti-pot laws isn’t what the country needs right now, threatening to use his power to grind Justice Department nominees to a halt. Gardner votes in line with the Trump’s and Sessions’ agendas nearly 95% of the time, so this type of fierce opposition should send a strong message.

          If there’s one thing we can all learn from this, it’s how hollow the convictions of those who champion “states’ rights” and “small government” can be.

          Whether it’s in fighting states’ abilities to enact their own laws around pot, micromanaging what a woman can do with her uterus, demanding to know what a trans person’s genitals look like, or dictating who has the right to protest for racial justice and how they should do it, “small government” often means complete authoritarian control. Perhaps these politicians should heed a bit of their own rhetoric. “Don’t tread on me,” right?

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          Marissa SafontColorado Senate Dems make a hilariously great case for legal pot.
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