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Jeff Sessions Is Rip Van Winkle on Drug Policy

Lost in the brouhaha about whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to Congress about his contacts with Russian officials is an appropriate consideration of the pernicious influence he could have on policy toward illegal drugs. At a time when America seems poised to adopt a more enlightened policy on that issue, Sessions could set back progress at least a generation.

Especially when it comes to policy regarding marijuana, Sessions emulates Rip Van Winkle. He apparently went to sleep shortly after Richard Nixon declared a “war” on illegal drugs in 1971 and just recently awakened from his slumber. There is little evidence that Sessions understands what havoc the war on drugs has wrought both domestically and internationally since Nixon issued his declaration.   

Instead, the attorney general regurgitates simplistic clichés right out of the 1970s and 1980s about marijuana use. “I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot,” Sessions told reporters on February 26, claiming that “we’re seeing real violence” around the trade. During a Senate hearing in 2016, he vehemently condemned pot use and wanted the federal government to send a message to the American people that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” That statement ignored abundant evidence that millions of people from all walks of life use the drug either medically or recreationally. Chastising the Obama administration for a supposedly lax stance on the issue, Sessions asserted that “we need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

Amazingly, he has escalated such inflammatory and bizarre rhetoric. Speaking at a gathering in Richmond, Virginia on March 15, Sessions equated marijuana use to heroin addiction. Either one, he contended, was a “life-wrecking dependency [1],” adding that marijuana was “only slightly less awful.” He reserved special contempt for those who argue (with growing evidence) that marijuana has been useful in weaning opiate addicts off of those harder drugs.

Such comments confirm that critics may be right when they label him a “drug war dinosaur.” He seems either oblivious or scornful about the trend in public opinion regarding marijuana.  Multiple polls indicate a growing majority in favor of legalizing the drug not only for medical purposes, but also for recreational use. And that grassroots sentiment has resulted in major legislative changes at the state and local levels. Over the past two decades, 28 states have legalized medical marijuana, and in the past few years, eight states (including most recently, large states such as California and Massachusetts) have legalized recreational marijuana.   Most recently, a February survey from Quinnipiac University confirmed that 71 percent of American voters, including a majority of Republicans, want the federal government to respect state marijuana laws instead of overriding them with federal enforcement measures.

Despite being a conservative Republican who touts the importance of states’ rights, Sessions is making ominous statements about running roughshod over the wishes of states that have embraced marijuana legalization. Since taking office, he has on several occasions emphasized that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and that he fully intends to enforce that statute vigorously. Aside from the hypocrisy on his part, such a move would create a nasty showdown between federal and state authorities.

Unfortunately, Sessions’ retrograde views are apparently already having a poisonous influence on the Trump administration. During the campaign, Trump on several occasions promised to “leave it up to the states” regarding marijuana. That certainly implied a respect for the laws of states that had legalized even recreational marijuana. Now, however, there are signs the administration is retreating from that position. Press spokesman Sean Spicer recently stated that states that have legalized recreational marijuana will see not just enforcement, but “greater enforcement” of federal prohibition laws, and that the Justice Department (i.e., Sessions) would make the decisions about appropriate steps.

Continued, much less intensified, enforcement of marijuana prohibition would be a tragedy. The drug war has created more than enough societal disasters, both domestically and internationally, since Nixon launched that initiative. Millions of Americans have had their lives disrupted and acquired the stigma of a criminal record for doing nothing more than choosing to use a drug that politicians arbitrarily made illicit.  

To state the obvious, having a criminal record does not help one’s prospects for getting a job and all the benefits that tend to flow from stable employment at a good wage. For those who have been sentenced to prison terms for possession or trafficking, the consequences are even worse. That action pulls breadwinners out of the home, causing families to be shattered, thereby producing an assortment of social pathologies.

Perhaps worst of all, drug prohibition has filled the coffers of violent criminal organizations.  Making a drug illegal causes the retail price to soar, creating a lucrative profit margin for individuals and organizations willing to undertake the risks associated with violating prohibition laws. Not surprisingly, most people willing to do that are prone to violence and have no respect for laws in general. The result has been horrifying levels of carnage, both in American communities where the drugs are sold and in countries that are the source of the product. The latter turmoil has been especially pronounced in America’s southern neighbor, Mexico, where nearly 100,000 people have died [2] in the fighting over the past decade.

Incurring such results is bad enough in a futile attempt to enforce laws against cocaine, heroin, and other hard drugs. It is reprehensible to do so with a popular, mild drug such as marijuana.  Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions seems clueless about the negative consequences of drug prohibition. “You can’t sue somebody for drug debt; the only way to get your money is through strong-arm tactics, and violence tends to follow that,” Sessions recently informed reporters. That perverse situation, however, is the result of marijuana prohibition, not mere commerce in marijuana (or any other drug, for that matter). When marijuana is legal, collection of such debts most certainly can be enforced in a court of law, rather than through gunfire, and since legitimate businesses instead of criminal enterprises would dominate the trade, they would have every incentive to do so.

Jeff Sessions was a most unfortunate choice for U.S. attorney general. Rather than letting this modern-day Rip Van Winkle ignore the multitude of negative consequences that the drug war has caused over the past four and a half decades and launch a new, destructive crusade against marijuana, including in states that have legalized the drug, President Trump should keep his campaign promise to let the states decide policy. Above all, he needs to rein in Jeff Sessions before he does irreversible damage.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is the author of 10 books, including two on drug policy.  He is also the contributing editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 650 articles.

36 Comments (Open | Close)

36 Comments To "Jeff Sessions Is Rip Van Winkle on Drug Policy"

#1 Comment By Henry Smith On March 17, 2017 @ 4:30 am

Jeff Sessions says that good people don’t smoke marijuana but a group of really insidious people in that industry are the people running publicly traded marijuana companies that are little more than scofflaws who have set up scam companies to benefit from the excitement around legalization that the press has whipped up. Take a look at the backgrounds of the people running Cannabis Sativa, Hemp, Notis Global(fka Medbox), etc… and all you see are life-long con artists who are in and out of trouble with the law for fraud. These are the type of people who deal in marijuana.

#2 Comment By Brett Stacy On March 17, 2017 @ 7:44 am

Sessions is a dinosaur/product of the 20th century and has no proof to back his point of view.Another fear based man with little education on the subject,and no personal experience. His sole platform is that he is against it.No reasons…just ’cause.

#3 Comment By peanut On March 17, 2017 @ 8:25 am

“Despite being a conservative Republican who touts the importance of states’ rights, Sessions is making ominous statements about running roughshod over the wishes of states that have embraced marijuana legalization”

In the real world, no one cares about states’ rights, part the millionth.

#4 Comment By Dr. Willard M. Oliver On March 17, 2017 @ 9:12 am

Dear Ted,

Let me guess, without even looking, you are a Baby Boomer who fondly recalls his college days in the 1960s smoking dope?

How about discussing the law and the Constitution rather than policy? Federal law says marijuana is illegal. Some states have legalized it. When there is a conflict, the U.S. Constitution says, under the Supremacy Clause, national law Trumps (pun intended) state law. Ergo, marijuana is illegal in the U.S.

I am okay with State’s rights, but that takes an act of Congress, signed by the President. In the mean time, Sessions is the Attorney General. He is no longer a Senator. He no longer makes law. He enforces it.

Don’t blame Sessions for doing his job, blame Congress for failing to do theirs.


#5 Comment By Lane On March 17, 2017 @ 9:30 am

I don’t believe that the federal government should have a drug policy. It is clearly (and constitutionally) a state issue. I also don’t believe most drugs, such as cocaine, meth, etc., should be legalized by Virginia (as a Virginian, the only state I can legitimately have an opinion for). How you deal with the people arrested for those drugs is arguable. A focus on rehab is reasonable. But the drugs have terrible affects on the users, which has a terrible affect on communities. Simply for that reason, they should not be legalized.

However, to be fair to Mr. Sessions, as long as the federal law remains on the statute book, he must enforce it in some way. If he chooses not to enforce it AT ALL, that is simply lawlessness, not prosecutorial discretion (where in some cases it is prosecuted and sometimes not).

#6 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 17, 2017 @ 9:44 am

Ted Galen Carpeneter has written extensively on marijuana – in today’s TAC article, as well as in scores of other articles (particularly at the libertarian CATO Institute) and in a number of books – and his views are well-informed and interesting.

However, Mr. Carpenter’s criticisms of Attorney General Sessions are off-base. Attorney General Sessions understands his duty re marijuana and other drugs and he publicly expressed those duties as follows:

“I Jeff Sessions, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Jeff Sessions has stated repeatedly that as US Attorney General he is dedicated to enforcing the law.

Far from being “a most unfortunate choice for U.S. attorney general,” Jeff Sessions – in terms of his knowledge, experience, and dedication to the law — is the best possible choice for U.S. attorney general.

#7 Comment By Stephen Gould On March 17, 2017 @ 10:32 am

While it is fair to observe that Sessions is only following his mandate, the AG cannot spend his time enforcing all Federal laws against all possible offenders. He has to prioritise. His prioritising marijuana-based crime makes little sense.

#8 Comment By Vince Ory On March 17, 2017 @ 10:44 am

Smoking that stuff is harmful on several levels. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I saw first hand how it negatively transformed my friends. I get a little tired of the potheads that are now in government and the public arena salivate over the prospect of legal dope.

#9 Comment By Joe Marks On March 17, 2017 @ 12:07 pm

As far as I’m aware, and it’s of grave concern to everyone who still lives today, the War On Drugs was declared unlawfully. I believe there are rules of engagement for such an Action. Ignoring the Shaffer Commission, and the expressed advice of the then FDA, in itself should be scrutinized to the highest degree.

With the American Health Care Act replacing the Affordable Care Act I think the way to complete and total legalization are within grasp; the path has just been revealed as far as I’m concerned, and I’m looking into writing my own policies since the ones on currently on the books do not serve the common good of a civilized society. Think, Pay-To-Play politics where our best interests are shown the back seat, and with US sits liberty and justice as well.

If heroine was legal, I’d probably want to try it after intensive research and speaking with people I believe know what the heck they’re talking about. It isn’t the FDA, FBI, DEA, or HHS that I’ll turn to for information… or even the Department Of Education. Our system is rigged, quote the Big Brother. Nevermore…


#10 Comment By Fred Bowman On March 17, 2017 @ 12:36 pm

What ignorant comments here. America is in the middle of a major heroin epidemic and yet Atty General Sessions wants to go after marijuana users? It way pass time for states to resist the monsterous tyranny of the Federal Government. If the Republic is to be saved then at some point secession might be in order. America was founded because of the tyranny of a distant government and for the 1st 90 years there was a clear division between the rights of the states and right of the Federal government to impose it’s laws on the citizens of those states. Imho the best government is one that is local and more responsive to wants and needs of it’s citizen.

#11 Comment By Dwayne Oxford On March 17, 2017 @ 12:49 pm

Genesis 1:29
And God said, Behold, I have given you EVERY!! herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Yet the “Christian” sheeple are OK with their sheriffs and courts persecuting users of God’s BEST herb.

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 17, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

” That statement ignored abundant evidence that millions of people from all walks of life use the drug either medically or recreationally.”

I don’t get marijuana smokers. But the above comment suggests that numbers as indicators alone warrant legalizing the substance. But the liberal Gov. of California has regretted its legalization.

I am not prepared to argue that the consequences of marijuana use will be as costly as alcohol, however, its an unknown. But there are hints of its long term pain. I have been a dinosaur on this issue since I was in HS.

And nothing in the research suggests that my position opposing its use is unwarranted. And it doesn’t matter who smokes, sells, or uses the substance. I remember when the medical provision was passed in CA. Something, I suspect was a ruse by the advocates. And the implementation of that policy has demonstrated that ruse is polite reference.

I have not done the indepth analysis, but the subsequent economic boon from legalization hasn’t materialized and I suspect that it never will. And eventually the bills economically and socially will come due, if they haven’t already.

I think the AG should do his homework to have some responses with greater substance, but I applaud his position.

#13 Comment By Brian On March 17, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

Those saying “Sessions has to uphold the law” are missing the point. The DOJ has limited resources and the AG has to choose where to allocate those resources. One would think the AG would allocate resources towards crimes that have the most negative effect on our society.
Is marijuana one of them? I don’t think many would say “yes” to that. By saying they are going to have “greater enforcement” they are saying they are going to allocate more resources towards catching and prosecuting marijuana users/suppliers/companies.

Is this how you want your tax money spent?

#14 Comment By TJ Martin On March 17, 2017 @ 1:19 pm

” Jeff Sessions has stated repeatedly that as US Attorney General he is dedicated to enforcing the law ”

.. and yet Mr Gayle Jeff Sessions continues to remain silent as the Breitbart Bannon & Trump train do their best to walk all over the US Constitution . An interesting dichotomy and contradiction on your part as well as just a hint of hypocrisy to say the least

As for the subject in question . As a Boomer [ tried it , hated it myself and surrounded by those who use it ] living in Colorado and therefore having more first hand experience with the legalization of marijuana than either Sessions or I’m guessing the majority posting here today , dealing with both the ludicrous and harsh legal enforcement previously in place and now the unintended consequences brought on by the over legalization of marijuana including 1) Child overdoses 2) Inflated home prices as those in the business ‘ invest ‘ in multiple properties to launder their money 3) A significant increase in DUI’s made more difficult because law enforcement does not have the tools needed to detect 420 levels .. etc – et al – ad nauseam may I simply state ;

In Colorado the previous laws in place were ridiculous , costly and overbearing .. whereas the new ones are just as bad .. having moved the pendulum from the very far right to the extreme left not taking potential consequences etc under consideration .

Finally … in response to Mr Smith’s uniformed comment may I say .. allow me to be the bearer of bad news along with a well needed reality fix . Many if not most of those ‘ investing ‘ in the 420 industry ( in states where it is legal ) are the very billionaire / millionaire businessmen , private equity firms and politicians proudly wearing their [ R ] on their sleeves concerned only with the potential of big profit and the possibly of Big Pharma coming in once legalization becomes more nationwide . Not the ‘ so called ‘ low life’s you and Mr Sessions so ignorantly allude to . Though to be honest in my opinion Mr Sessions opinions are based on his blatant public support of For Profit prisons and the need to fill cells rather than any ‘ facts ‘ or legalities involved

#15 Comment By Chris Mallory On March 17, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

To the scofflaws,

1) Please provide article and section of the Constitution or Amendment that gives the Federal government the authority to prohibit a plant.

2) In order to outlaw booze, the Federal government amended the Constitution with the 18th Amendment. Why is alcohol different than a naturally growing plant when it comes to prohibition?

3) Where in the Constitution is the AG given any authority to exercise power that the Constitution does not give to the Federal government?

4) Even with the Supremacy Clause, where in the Constitution where does the Constitution require that State law follow Federal law, see the Fugitive Slave Laws. Where are the Feds given any power to conscript state officials to enforce Federal law?

#16 Comment By KingTJ On March 17, 2017 @ 2:51 pm

Mr.Carpenter raises some valid points, but in my experience some of his statements are misleading. If public opinion is so heavily in favor of legalization, why does it remain illegal? Congress certainly could find a means to legalize it by removing it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, but it hasn’t. Year after years it remains illegal. Is public opposition stronger than the poles Carpenter cites?

Any suggestion that mere marijuana users are regularly sent to prison is laughable. In many states the penalty is a fine. Many marijuana traffickers are spared prison. Individuals serving time for “Possession of Marijuana” are very often there because they were spared a felony conviction (of Possession with Intent), and agreed to plead to the misdemeanor.

Finally, most marijuana users don’t end up heroin addicts. But any drug counselor will tell you that heroin addicts all say they started out using marijuana.

#17 Comment By Patrick C On March 17, 2017 @ 3:16 pm

Kurt Gayle,

“Jeff Sessions has stated repeatedly that as US Attorney General he is dedicated to enforcing the law.”

This stand needs to be challenged more often because it is bogus. The United States has far more laws/regulations at the Federal, State, and local levels than could ever be evenly enforced. I used to think that this allowed the various elements of law enforcement to use their common sense and discretion about what and when a given law should be enforced for the common good. Now I realize that discretion is far too often discrimination motivated by all sorts of nefarious reasons.

This problem has reached its apex at the top of the Federal level where an entire class of politicians is now above the laws that would ruin the lives of average citizens.

#18 Comment By Bob Taylor On March 17, 2017 @ 3:45 pm

We all know the Justice Department is selective in just which offenders it will go after and which not.

I’m amused by Sessions’ contempt more than fearful of it. Does he even know about the highly limited clinical trials which show that psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD are very probably of great benefit in treating everything from opiate addiction to PTSD,and possibly clinical depression?

John Ehrlichmann admitted that the Nixon administration made war on marijuana in order to suppress the student and black left of the late 60s. The word for such a thing, considering its consequences, is “evil.”

#19 Comment By peanut On March 17, 2017 @ 4:43 pm

“I don’t believe that the federal government should have a drug policy. It is clearly (and constitutionally) a state issue. ”

I am not a fan of the federal drug policy, but the drug trade fall flatly within the bounds of interstate and international commerce.

#20 Comment By StAugBassMan On March 17, 2017 @ 4:44 pm

Need to stop referring to it as a drug. It is an herb with healing capability and an unbelievably safe record!

#21 Comment By George Marshall On March 17, 2017 @ 4:53 pm

Dr. Oliver, although I am a baby boomer, I have never used marijuana, so I have no fond memories. I agree with your comments about Congress. Mr. Sessions, however, has a limited budget. He cannot practically speaking, enforce each Federal statute with equal vigor. Given that a number of states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, it would seem to me that his department might have more important things to do.

#22 Comment By William Dalton On March 17, 2017 @ 4:55 pm

Dr. Oliver is right, except that Congress has no authority to ban or restrict use of marijuana under the Constitution – no more than it had the power to ban alcohol before passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. When Trump has appointed enough Constitutional strict constructionists to the Supreme Court to restore the balance of power between Washington and the nation, national prohibitionists like Jeff Sessions will be put out of business.

Of course, as Dr. Oliver states, Congress could do its job and we won’t have to wait for a Court ruling.

#23 Comment By Bob K. On March 17, 2017 @ 10:12 pm

Control marijuana just like tobacco is controlled.

Start with the issuing of a federal license to grow it and make it a crime to grow it otherwise.

Then take it step by step from there starting with taxing it at every level of its production and sale. Tax it first at the Federal level, then again at the state level, and on to the municipal level if so wanted, just as it is done with the tobacco products that reach New York City for sale there.

Make failure to pay these taxes a crime and let the AT&F agency enforce these regulations.

Allow businesses to control where it can and cannot be smoked on their premises and alternatively allow them to ban its use on their premises entirely.

Make it at least as hard to find a place to smoke it as it is to find a place to smoke a fine cigar!

#24 Comment By Clyde Schechter On March 17, 2017 @ 11:11 pm

The war on drugs has been a disaster. But the full legalization of marijuana will be even worse. It will be followed by the commercialization of marijuana, with billions of dollars of aggressive marketing. Vulnerable children will be targeted. Casual users will be cajoled into chronic heavy use that turns them dysfunctional.

And the health effects of marijuana use are not really known, precisely because criminalization has limited its use. But once it is as widely used as alcohol (and, until recently, tobacco), whatever noxious health effects it brings will become known. I think any reasonable person would presume that the chronic inhalation of the combustion products of any plant is probably bad for your lungs and could well be carcinogenic. Once that genie is out of the bottle, it will be has difficult to put back in as it has been to fight the tobacco epidemic. Even today, after decades of effort to root it out, tobacco remains a leading cause of death in the United States.

What we need is an intermediate course. Decriminalize possession of small amounts, but make sure that mass commercial distribution remains a felony. If somebody wants to get high from time to time, that is, I agree, his or her business and government should stay out of it. But if somebody wants to market marijuana, I’m fine with putting them in the slammer.

#25 Comment By Ben Stone On March 18, 2017 @ 12:34 am

A government has no more authority to ban a plant than to ban soaking in the sunshine or breathing in the air.

#26 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 18, 2017 @ 10:32 am

This is funny. In twenty ears the argument has remained the same. It’s cheaper to ignore marijuana enforcement.

It would also be cheaper to ignore enforcing any laws regarding the use of all illegal substances. Marijuana is illegal because of its impact on functioning. The mind is impaired. It has deleterious effect on decision making. It may or may not be a gateway drug. But it is not uncommon for those engaged in marijuana use to also engage in the use of other illegal substances.

There is of curse another choice. Don’t use illegal substances.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 18, 2017 @ 11:09 am

“2) In order to outlaw booze, the Federal government amended the Constitution with the 18th Amendment. Why is alcohol different than a naturally growing plant when it comes to prohibition?”

Alcohol is a problem. But its existence in the society has been such that it is in some manner manageable. There are blood tests and means of noting behavior to alcohol content.

I am no more a fan of government than the use of marijuana. However, to the extent that behavior impacts others in community, then community has some legitimate claims to involvement in one’s use of substances. That includes the national community.

I tell you what, advocate that the users of substances such as marijuana, alcohol, cocaine be the sole bearers of the consequences in every way including; insurance programs, rehab, hospitalization, child rearing, vehicular accidents, abandonment, workplace accidents, etc. in both private and public monies and I might consider supporting our position.

Tell me and thousands of others that upon locating our cars taken for joy rides, smelling of marijuana and windows smashed in that you have a fund dedicated to the repair of the damage and stolen passports, texts, and other private property. Tell me that the marijuana community will redress the damage of the chemical residue whafting in the air that invades the homes of others tinting their paint, clothing, air ducts, heating and cooling systems as result of this harmless substance.

And then perhaps, I would consider supporting the suggestion.

#28 Comment By Ed On March 18, 2017 @ 12:04 pm

Amazing! Thank you for publishing this editorial by Ted Galen Carpenter.

The comments are all over the map but I stand firmly in the camp of cannabis legalization or at least decriminalization.

Laws should help protect individuals in a society and society as a whole. The war on drugs, and specifically the war on cannabis, is immensely more harmful than the use of cannabis by some individuals.

DUI laws are already in place.

And to KnigTJ:

“Mr.Carpenter raises some valid points, but in my experience some of his statements are misleading. If public opinion is so heavily in favor of legalization, why does it remain illegal?”

This is why I favor a small government and reluctantly agree with some of the NRA’s tactics, once laws are passed and begin to be enforced, it is nearly impossible to reverse them even when the overwhelming evidence suggests that that should be the course of action. There are huge enterprises now built and profiting off of the drug war – it’s awful. Not to mention the terrible waste of tax payer money.

Many states HAVE legalized cannabis either for medical use or recreational use. Citizens within the states are forcing the issue. The US Congress is useless.

As long as alcohol, cigarettes and many OTC drugs that are much more harmful than cannabis remain legal, the hypocrisy kills me.

Draconian Federal enforcement of arcane cannabis laws should not be a priority for Sessions.

Let the people have their freedom!

#29 Comment By Crprod On March 18, 2017 @ 12:41 pm

The more strict that drug enforcement is, the greater the opportunity for greater profits from private prison operations.

#30 Comment By Tfb On March 18, 2017 @ 3:57 pm

As a child of”just say no” I can tell you the false equivalency of marijuana to heroin is how you end up with more hard drug users. That’s like saying a sling shot is the same as a shot gun.

#31 Comment By Bill Wild On March 20, 2017 @ 10:35 pm

I find it hard to believe that anyone could be so obtuse as to not realize that marijuana prohibition has proven to be a costly failure and a waste of resources for quite some time now.
Better to use the resources fighting truly harmful drugs like heroin, meth amphetamine, and the misuse of opioids.

#32 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 21, 2017 @ 4:58 pm

“As long as alcohol, cigarettes and many OTC drugs that are much more harmful than cannabis remain legal, the hypocrisy kills me.”

Hmmmm . . . as for the mind altering substances, you’d get no push back from and millions of others if you made them all illegal.

Given how you’ve lumped all of these together including tobacco, I take it LSD, Heroin, and not yet legal substances are part of this freedom cry.

There’s means of testing the the chemical impact of marijuana as with alcohol. The fact that you make reference to the DUI testing suggests you at least acknowledge the danger, yet promote its introduction minus a management tool.

That alone is cause to oppose it.

#33 Comment By Ed On March 22, 2017 @ 1:23 pm


FYI, drugs and the desire to use them will never go away no matter how massive the war against them gets – a fact of life and obvious by now.

But you must be one of those perfect people. No sins, no vices, preach it brutha!

“Hmmmm . . . as for the mind altering substances, you’d get no push back from and millions of others if you made them all illegal.”

And foist Puritanical religious beliefs on us as a replacement high. No thanks.

“Given how you’ve lumped all of these together including tobacco, I take it LSD, Heroin, and not yet legal substances are part of this freedom cry.”

Not to burst your bubble, but decriminalizing all drug use (not dealing!) and providing a reasonable support system that costs less economically and socially than the prohibitionist’s disastrous “Drug War!”, has mostly worked in Portugal.

Is Portugal’s solution perfect? Of course not. Is it better than the US’s policies and effectiveness in eradicating drug use. Yes. It is also more humane.

Do I think drugs are good for people to use; maybe yes, maybe no. It’s not my pace to judge. Personally, I’d stay away from heroin, etc. I’ve also stopped prescription drug use even though the doctor claims “…you’ll be fine…”

I’m sure the various poisons the pharmaceutical companies are dumping indiscriminately to make a buck pass your muster just because they are ‘legal’.

As for cannabis, I believe it should be completely legal to grow, sell and use.

Meanwhile education, knowledge, open communication and treatment/support are all much more effective than what illegality, prison and the lifelong Scarlet Letter ‘D’ does for drug users and society as a whole.




#34 Comment By dave On March 24, 2017 @ 9:36 am

States Rights are viewed thru a Civil War lens; it’s a southern euphemism for keeping the Yankees out of our nefarious business. Sessions is not a 20th Century dinosaur, he’s from the 19th. Still, 70% of the population also wants saner gun laws, and universal healthcare, so overwhelming majorities are no guarantee of anything.

#35 Comment By Mary Stowell On March 24, 2017 @ 12:53 pm

I am a psychoanalyst. When I broke my back in a fall I had to use opioids and became physiologically addicted. Marijuana helped me get off the opioids and helped with muscle spasms. I am not addicted to marijuana but grateful it was legal in my state when I needed it.

#36 Comment By H.M. On March 24, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

As a longtime resident of California and follower of marijuana laws and their effects, I can tell you that the AG is way off course. And to whomever said that California Gov Brown regretted legalizing it recreationally here is making that up or read that somewhere that made that up. Gov Brown said it’s complicated, which it is but just look at Colorado and Washington to see both the income generated and the amount of Big Money involved in the business. There are elements that need to be worked out, yes, but that will come.

The other major component of this is the amount of unnecessary incarceration of people, mostly black men, because of marijuana laws (and old 3 strikes laws) that need to be rescinded, and past sentences that need to be vacated. Families and lives are absolutely devastated by these laws.

If nothing else, the AG should get contemporary because the cartels are made rich and extremely violent because of our outdated laws. If we were actually serious about a secure border the first step would be legalizing marijuana.