AG Sessions signals no major federal marijuana crackdown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday again criticized marijuana while also signaling that the Department of Justice under his leadership won’t launch a wide-ranging crackdown on cannabis businesses.

Speaking with reporters after a speech in Virginia, Sessions said “much of” the 2013 Cole Memo – which laid the groundwork for the adult-use marijuana industry as it exists today in the United States – is “valid.” But he also suggested some additional federal guidelines may be coming from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In his comments, Sessions indicated that the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Administration probably won’t take widespread action against the eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states, and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” Sessions said in response to a question about whether his DOJ will sue states that have legalized rec, or if the department will prosecute any adult-use businesses.

“I may have some different ideas myself in addition to that,” Sessions said, “but essentially, we’re not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades.”

Cannabis businesses can take away two things from Sessions’ remarks:

  • The Trump administration may issue a stricter version of the Cole Memo, but those guidelines will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future.
  • The DOJ almost certainly won’t be starting a war on the cannabis industry.

The bottom line, it seems, is that business will likely continue largely uninterrupted for the U.S. marijuana trade.

Sessions also said he believes medical marijuana “has been hyped, maybe too much,” but he agreed there could be medical benefits to be had from cannabis.

“I acknowledge that,” Sessions said. “But if you … smoke marijuana, for example, where you have no idea how much THC you’re getting is probably not a good way to administer a medicinal amount. So forgive me if I’m a bit dubious about that.”

The attorney general also reiterated his personal opposition to cannabis legalization in general.

He also echoed the same message during a speech earlier in the day Wednesday.

“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store,” Sessions said. “I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”

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12 comments on “AG Sessions signals no major federal marijuana crackdown
  1. joe fialkowski on

    slightly less as awful? you mean a 100times less awful, I know I am a recovering alcoholic/addict of 13 years , there is NO COMPARASION !!

    • keith kristianson on

      I know how you feel Joe, weed is the least addictive substance i know, i’m just hitting 60 and use for Muscular Dystrophy for cramping, pain, etc. got off cigs and booze a long time ago.

  2. frustrated on

    You are the Attorney General for the United States of America!
    You are not allowed to make comments that are not based on facts.
    ”but he agreed there could be medical benefits to be had from cannabis.” Please, please, please, do some research before you comment on this topic anymore. #cantfixstupid

  3. Marianne Bays on

    Sessions doesn’t know anything about titration of inhaled medical cannabis. Vaping or smoking cannabis to alleviate medical symptoms is preferred by many patients, because they can control their ingestion of medication easily, feel the effect quickly and consume just enough to alleviate their symptoms, and no more. Self-titration and dosage trial and error are all that are available to most patients utilizing cannabis. Fortunately, cannabis is non-toxic and experimentation to find the right inhaled dose isn’t dangerous. It’s actually more dangerous with orally ingested capsules, tinctures, edibles .. because the dosage is still hard to gauge, and the effect is delayed, making it more difficult to know when to stop.

    As to marijuana availability at the corner store .. if regulated as well as CO, WA & OR have done it, it’s a far cry better than continuing to rely on black market sources. With dealers, buyers aren’t carded and products aren’t tested for adulterants or to profile their cannabinoid content.

  4. Drugdoctor on

    re”Sessions said. “I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”

    As he downed another Martini…. Sheesh…

  5. Jimbo on

    Come on Jeff! “Slightly less awful”? You really should not show how clueless you seem with such a statement. I am just a bit older than you yet even I can see the “forest through the trees” Please educate yourself a bit more before making these simple, dumb, wrong, statements!

  6. John on

    It’s incredible how ignorant supposedly smart people can talk. Sessions needs to get a grip! I’m a 4 year pancreatic cancer survivor, had a Whipple, chemo and radiation. About two years prior to being diagnosed I fractured three veterbra in my cervical spine and dislocated a shoulder mtn biking. I live in pain every minute while also dealing with nausea and occasional vomiting from cancer treatments. I participate in NJ’s MM program and use various strains and blends to manage these issues. Retired, I’m an active volunteer with three different organizations and continue to mtn bike, kayak and golf. “Slightly less awful” how about its enabled me to stay quite active and productive. Would have liked to see him sitting next to me while being pumped with chemo, he’d cry like a baby! Damn does this crap piss me off, to think I also served my country and this is the ignorance we have to accept from our so called intellectuals in government.

  7. Doc Thorne on

    Frankly, I’m tired of all the “signals”. Why not just come out and SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND INTEND, or is that too obvious? It’s all bullsh*t theater, nothing more.

  8. A.Rasheed Shah on

    All great comments. The AG is in a much better place now than he was a month or two ago. His misunderstanding is obvious but I believe in the adage that you can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar. The AG just needs to be inundated with stories like Joe’s, Keith’s, Marianne’s and John’s.

    Facts tell, stories sell. His belief about the harm of Cannabis is not much different than the liberals’ belief in socialist, bloated, entitlement based government.

  9. mTspaceEvolves on

    weed being grouped with heroin is contributes to why youth don’t feel the danger of “Controlled Substances” (Sched I/II) drugs. they see weed isn’t intense/horrid & skews view of impact narcotics have. WEED IS MATHEMATICALLY NOT A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. ‘Controlled’ doesn’t mean regulated it means made in controlled enviro aka a Lab. WEED IS A WEED. GROWS w/ NO CONTROLS NEEDED. EARTH GROWS IT at ambient temp. w/ ambient pressure and water as additive, factory produced Substances usu. heated up to 3000 degrees. volcanoes only hit temp 1000-1500. I THINK CAGING PEOPLE ILLOGICALLY ALSO WAY WE LOSE THE YOUTH. Kids don’t have to smoke weed or drink to see that drunks are way more destructive/dysfunctional than potheads. it makes weed a just cause. it makes the Cagers the “them” in the Us vs. Them. i stopped wanting to be productive member of society cuz of seat belt laws made 20yrs ago when i was 18. to me the Cagers were overstepping & so i couldn’t support it. pu8t energy into decriminalizing & have helped write 3 ordinances that passed in last 10yrs Got cancer last year, used THC oil under tongue and got clean scans 6mos ago soooo

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