Jeff Sessions And His War On Pot

Given the daily headlines generated by this Administration–everything from porn star lawsuits and tariffs to the escalating exodus from the White House (Bill Maher opined that this is the largest rush to exit since the British burned it)– it may have escaped most people’s notice that various cabinet officials are making a valiant effort to take America back to the last century.

Nowhere is that effort more concerted than in Jeff Session’s Department of Justice.

Sessions has refused to enforce consent decrees with various police departments. He has rolled back anti-discrimination measures. He’s re-instituted civil forfeitures (one of the few measures uniformly condemned by civil libertarians, criminal justice experts, and politicians from both parties). His retrograde policies about immigration have led him to sue California for its sanctuary efforts. His “tough on crime” initiatives ignore 25 years of criminal justice research.

But it is his unrelenting insistence on reinvigorating the discredited War on Drugs that best illustrates his passion for returning us to the 1950s. So it will be interesting to see what eventually happens with a lawsuit first filed last November.

Alexis Bortell, along with her father and other plaintiffs, including former NFL player Marvin Washington, filed suit in the Southern District of New York against the attorney general as well as the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency….

Alexis, whose family moved to Colorado from Texas to take advantage of the state’s legalization of recreational and medical marijuana, had been suffering since she was 7 from a form of epilepsy that cannot be safely controlled with FDA-approved treatments and procedures, the lawsuit says.

As a result, she often had multiple seizures a day. “Nothing she tried worked,” the suit states. When her family finally tried a form of marijuana, the girl found “immediate relief from her seizures.”

“Since being on whole-plant medical Cannabis, Alexis has gone more than two years seizure-free,” the suit says.

 Alexis won’t be able to return to her native Texas where she qualifies for free college, because she would be subject to arrest if she continued to use marijuana to control her seizures.

Unfortunately, in February, the Judge dismissed the claims, citing precedent.

The Second Circuit has already determined that Congress had a rational basis to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug,” Hellerstein writes, “and any constitutional rigidity is overcome by granting the Attorney General, through a designated agent, the authority to reclassify a drug according to the evidence before it. … There can be no complaint of constitutional error when such a process is designed to provide a safety valve of this kind.”

However, Hellerstein immediately follows this conclusion with a paragraph suggesting that he is sympathetic to assertions that marijuana has medical uses.

“I emphasize that this decision is not on the merits of plaintiffs’ claim,” he points out. “Plaintiffs’ amended complaint, which I must accept as true for the purpose of this motion, claims that the use of medical marijuana has, quite literally, saved their lives, One plaintiff in this case, Alexis Bortell, suffers from intractable epilepsy, a severe seizure disorder that once caused her to experience multiple seizures every day. After years of searching for viable treatment options, Alexis began using medical marijuana. Since then, she has gone nearly three years without a single seizure.”

Alexis wasn’t the only plaintiff: she was joined by six-year-old Jagger Cotte, who treats with cannabis for Leigh Syndrome, a horrible, terminal neurological disorder; former NFL linebacker Marvin Washington, who makes cannabis-based products for head trauma; Iraq War veteran Jose Belen, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and was given the option of “opioids or nothing” from the Veterans Administration; and the Cannabis Cultural Association, a nonprofit concerned with racial disparities in drug policy enforcement.

All indications are that the dismissal will be appealed to the Second Circuit, and no matter who wins there, probably to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Jeff Session’s Justice Department will continue to ignore both the overwhelming consensus of research and the undeniable, abject failure of the 20th Century’s drug war.

In Trump’s America, of course, evidence and expertise are irrelevant.


  1. If there were a certain large number of tragic cases that are treatable with marijuana, the drug lobby, backed by the GOP, would promote it by an innocuous name and package it “for prescription”. Then it wouldn’t be marketable because an obscene price would be applied in addition to the cost of doctors and specialists.
    Better to leave the argument to the courts and grow your own. That’s probably what Jeff Sessions does in the subtropical climate of Alabama. What do presidential cabinet members use (besides resignations) to escape from mind-crushing meetings?
    Sessions would rather supports the dangerous opioid epidemic instead of this natural and demonstrably harmless vegetable palliative.

  2. Yet, I would bet Mr. Sessions indulges in a cocktail or beer once in a while. Alcohol is a legal and taxed drug. It also is the cause of thousands of unintended deaths a year. It is often the option for pain relief, mental or physical, when opioids are not available. The adverse affects and consequences of use for alcohol may be just a hangover OR a DUI (if you are lucky and no one is injured or dies), domestic violence, child abuse, uncontrolled anger and the jail time resulting. But its possession and consumption is legal, controlled and taxed. The hypocrisy involved is staggering.

  3. Several years ago when I was seriously ill with cancer, the only thing that that that controlled the nausea that went wth chemo was a medicine made from marijuana .

  4. OMG; there is a “certain large number of tragic cases” for which medical marijuana would be extremely beneficial. I am disabled by one form of a family of diseases you have probably never heard of, Meniere’s Disease, which would benefit in many ways by using CBD oil. Would, in fact, probably prevent my years of physical disability which doctors prescribed only one of the many “controlled substances” by prescription only and lives of countless others. There is a Facebook post for those of us with MD which gained more than 5,000 members in less than a year and the list is growing; there are hundreds of thousands suffering from a variety of vestibular diseases and disabilities who would be able to continue active productive lives by using CBD oil. We would gladly pay for prescriptions which would benefit Big Pharma were they available. There are many other medical uses for marijuana than we are aware of due in part to lack of research; there are also many natural/herbal products on the market beneficial to countless health problems. Will Sessions attack GNC next?

    Jeff Sessions is a student of the movie “Reefer Madness” which was produced as an educational film to be used in schools to warn students of the evils of marijuana. One of the greatest comedies ever produced. Many in this country still used outhouses with old Sears catalogs at that time, all vehicles had stick shifts and Jim Crow laws still ruled the south where Sessions had his beginning and where his mind set remains. This government’s “War On Drugs” is a greater failure than our War in Viet Nam and the death rate is much higher and grows daily. There is no longer money to be made by this government with a war in Viet Nam but we are facing the possibility of again being involved in a new form of the Korean War as the basically ignored opioid death count rises and Big Pharma rakes in the profits.

    “Meanwhile, Jeff Session’s Justice Department will continue to ignore both the overwhelming consensus of research and the undeniable, abject failure of the 20th Century’s drug war.”

    Federal approval of medical marijuana through Big Pharma, available by physician prescription only, would eventually become available “over the counter” to remove it from health care coverage to put the cost solely on the patient.

  5. “ignore both the overwhelming consensus of research
    and the undeniable, abject failure of the 20th Century’s drug war.”

    There is the start of the Republican platform
    What awful people. Simply awful

  6. Neither the 45 misAdministration nor the Holcomb variety of the same cares one bit about truth, honesty or the health and welfare of our people. They care only about the money that they can legally steal through civil asset forfeiture. Law enforcement, from the AG down through the cop on the street allows them to expand their offices and resources and you can bet some of that is finding its ways into their individual pockets. You do not even have to be charged with a crime for law enforcement to seize your property; they just have to claim your house, car, money, whatever was obtained through illegal means and YOU have to prove otherwise in a court that is on their side. Pretty good scam, huh?

  7. Well, the Cracker General was put there to protect the President, right? Except he hasn’t. Instead, AG Redneck has embarrassed himself, the DOJ and the nation with his backward, foolish nonsense that will do far more harm than good….unless you own stock in for-profit prisons….like he does.

    You don’t suppose…..

  8. JD at 7:27am –

    How about a Mint Julep on the verandah y’all?
    Recipe calls for 2-1/2 ounces of straight bourbon whiskey per serving.
    The preferred cocktail at the Kentucky Derby.

  9. Speaking as someone who in another life was the recipient of such draconian laws effects, and even endured an unconstitutional search – I have always viewed ‘zealot cops’ with a suspicious eye. mr. sessions is if you study him trying to resurrect the days of Harry J. Anslinger a true bigot, man of questionable morals and mental ability, whose mentality brought us the term ‘marijuana’ and ‘darky’ and ‘N.. jazz lovers’… and the totally medieval laws on Hemp and Cannabis. Such people in my mind are in need of re-education or a good prison cell away from humanity – it is THEY that are the greatest danger to us. They fight an herb with such health benefits, and feed the OPIUM crisis. Look GWHB was responsible for the importation of Cocaine in such quantities we saw the development of Crack cocaine – I was witness to that in a very up front way. It was helicopters from my old guard unit the 1085th Med. Det. (Hel. Amb.) that were pictured in that 60 minutes segment on the CIA and the cocaine runs. I was there to ask him face to face at the Rapid City Civic Center – Why the 5th Army IG was requisitioning Vietnam Era aircraft from our local 2 helicopter units? He dodged my question three times feigning any knowledge and then launched into a policy talk on our actions in Central America. 23 years later I met a deputy who was involved in guarding those aircraft. We compared notes – been friends ever since. And I would add what did we get with GWB? Afghanistan… the poppy fields… and suddenly Heroin is our number one drug problem. Is there a connection – in this case too? Call it conspiracy theory all you want – the drugs are driven by MONEY. And every one of these people is driven by money – seems straight forward to me – keep stirring the pot enough to keep the masses at bay with a prison for profit system… always the ‘master’ and ‘serf’ mentality. Well mr. sessions better remember something – history – push against the people – they are going to say enough! And push back, and he might not like it. The man is a damn liar before Congress and the People of the United States of America(.)

  10. For some reason, and this is the worst possible news, this government has become normalized. Before last year we all knew that Trump wasn’t in the same zip code as a competent President. He’s turned out even worse than we estimated.

    We saw this coming to the degree that we hoped the outgoing administration would not even seat him somehow. But they had too; we voted them to, so here we are.

    Every day he adds a new blunder to the pile and 2/3 of the country groans and 1/3 says, see, no nuclear wars, we are all still employed, and he’s even letting us borrow a few dollars for a couple of years from the Federal credit card while directing a torrent of potential Washington help for the struggling among us up to the most comfortable among us. Not only that but he’s making the entitled superior again.

    Now the Presidency has been redefined as possible for anyone to do, even the biggest of clowns.

    We can this year start the project of tearing down this tragic mistake and we will, but the scars have disfigured Lady Liberty forever. We should have no illusions about that.

    But, carry on we will because carry on we must. This year we will all feel like natural disaster survivors look; dazed; overwhelmed; uncertain about where to even start. Down, but not out.

    Every “D” pulled in every voting booth across the country will be a message, will be a shot fired in a revolution to take back our country. Can we? Success is always uncertain but available to those who don’t give up. It was a good year for the movie “The Longest Hour” reminiscing about the time Great Britain faced existential uncertainty and was buoyed by the demonstration of courage and determination by one man.

    We must never give up.

  11. I suppose given the Trumpet’s (Agent Oranges) past behavior one War we will never see is a War on Porn, by Sessions.

  12. In order for the people to resist, they must be properly informed. Where do they get the information? TV? Local newspaper?

    If they do, which most do, they are grossly misinformed. Einstein said we were unable to make informed decisions back in the 40’s. Why?

    Because the press, universities, political parties, etc. are all owned by the Oligarchs. They manipulate and oppress. We go right along with it because the majority doesn’t know better.

    We keep voting for either political party hoping things get better for us, but they don’t. They haven’t for decades.

    It’s the system which is corrupt. You can change players or uniforms, but guess what?

    Someone posted that the GOP is owned by the pharmaceutical industry. That is a common misperception, but it’s really the democrats who are owned by Big Pharma. Former POTUS had a majority in congress but he gave us the republican devised RomneyCare instead of universal healthcare. The health insurance crowd got what they wanted…why is that?

    Pharmaceutical costs and hospital costs continue escalating and so do premiums. We privatized a public good and those privatizers need to show profits. Do you think doctors want to work for the government like all other industrialized nations? The AMA is one of the richest lobbies in our country. Do you think they are motivated to help all Americans or maintain their lifestyle?

    We are now privatizing our public education system. We already know what education will look like in the very near future because of our healthcare model.

    Marijuana hurts the alcohol industry, the pharmaceutical industry and also the lottery run by various mobs. Marijuana is a plant and grows from seed. It’s a product of God and Mother Nature. “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

    If we are allowed to grow it in our backyards, cultivate it, and extract oil and/or smoke it. Guess what happens to several industries? Massive loss of profits. Job losses.

    Also, all the prisons we’ve allowed to be privatized will suffer huge losses as the majority of brown and black people arrested and sentenced to decades in jail will fall by the wayside. What happens to the free black prison labor in the South?

    As it turns out, Americans aren’t very bright. If they were, there would be mass protests organized by the press consistently in Washington over the past thirty years.

    There’s a great case study in most leadership classes across the USA. Was Hitler a good leader? For most qualities, Hitler would receive high marks. However, once you looked at moral leadership, he became a scratch off. Why?

    He manipulated the German people with propaganda and fear.

    How is that any different than American leadership over the past?

    It’s funny how people hate Russia because their “corrupt leaders use state owned media to manipulate the Russian people.”

    Again, what is the difference between Russian Oligarchs and American Oligarchs? Who has done more damage on an international scale the past 50 years? Who oppresses its citizens in their home country and internationally?

  13. Medical marijuana is something I partake in regularly. I was able to get my license in AZ after a bursitis flare last summer but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been using it illegally since the late 70s. My spouse and I considered moving to CO after they legalized it but life got in the way. We are considering a move this spring to CA so there’s another state that has their priorities straight. Considering Indiana is now celebrating the second Sunday of carry out alcohol sales, I would imagine that legalizing marijuana there will happen in 2050 unless the next administration/congress finally decides to overcome the opiod crisis sooner by changing the Schedule 1 of marijuana to something like aspirin. It makes me wonder why the government is so slow about changing the laws about marijuana and wonder who is profiting from the current laws? Oh yes, private prisons. There’s your answer.

  14. Marijuana in my view should be treated like any other drug used for medicinal purposes, prescripted and controlled. It should not be just another drug available to the general public to get high or low. It is a drug helpful to people who can use it to relieve symptoms of a number of diseases and conditions and should be made available to them via prescription. Sessions, like Trump in other areas (see tariffs) is using a machete when the problem requires a scalpel and some expertise in wielding it, none of which seems to be available in this administration.

  15. Todd,

    Once again you grace us with your “nobody or anything (but your opinions and “knowledge”) are worth a shit and all of us our owned and operated by corporate America: Oh woe! Oh woe!

    Actually, most universities are NOT owned and operated by corporate/banking America. Media outlets ARE owned by corporations, but some of them actually report real and accurate news.

    You may be right about dumb voters, but that’s not your call. You are not the arbiter of who and what is good and bad, or who is worthy and who is not worthy. Fixing what is broken is the drill here. Educating voters is one of the aspects of fixing our problems, not calling them dumb.

    Find some sunlight somewhere.

  16. Todd, @ 10:43 am you are right on. Last night I realized once again that Orwell’s 1984 was on display again on the Corporate McMega-Media. Instead of Big Brother we have the Trumpet. I cruised CNN and MSDNC and there he was the Trumpet (aka Agent Orange) delivering a speech to rally.

    Just a few minutes ago I cruised CNN, MSDNC and FOX all about the Trumpet. MSDNC is all in lather about Stormy Daniels and Russia.

    There was candidate in 2016, that on October 28, 2015, Bernie Sanders expressed his support for the decriminalization and eventual legalization of cannabis by way of its removal as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, completely removing it from the list of dangerous substances outlawed by the federal government clearing the way for it to be fully legalized at the state level unimpeded by the federal government.

  17. I watched the movie “Churchill” last night; thinking I already knew enough about D Day and what it meant to the world but watching those incredible men deciding the fate of the world and knowing it meant the deaths of thousands of young men and innocent citizens vs. saving millions of lives if they won. The strength of character, determination and belief in their decision it took for the generals not to give in to the demands of Prime Minister Churchill was unimaginable. The man most of the world was looking to for leadership against the power of Hitler. There isn’t a word in any language to explain or describe those days and the decisions leading up to D Day, June 6, 1946, to end that World War.

    Today we are dealing with a an old racist fool and his battle against a weed; another distraction from a bigger and more dangerous fool whose mental instability wants to start what would be the last World War due to the destruction of most of the world to feed his insatiable ego. I am not fooled by his phony acceptance of Jong Un’s phony offer to discuss denuclearization; a meeting I see never becoming reality. Another distraction from the Russian invesftigation which appears to plod on, against all odds. The movie “Churchill” had an ultimately surprising effect on me as I thought back on it; a sense of shame of this current United States government which is too deep to describe. A shame forced on thinking Americans and a shame which is known throughout the world and, like D Day, will never be forgotten by the world.

  18. I agree JoAnn. I believe that Obama was capable of leading as did Churchill. I believe that Trump is an incapable Hitler. Will that ineptitude save us from a repeat of history? Possibly.

  19. After breathing on this planet for almost 60 yrs, I take offense when someone suggests that marijuana should be prescribed. Good grief people. It needs to be de-criminalized. It’s less harmful than alcohol yet I bet most of you partake in that! For someone like me with health conditions that made me infertile and sick for 40+ yrs, you don’t know what you’re talking about when you make those suggestions. My spouse doesn’t smoke and never has so he understands what it takes for me to have less anxiety, less pain and a life that is worth living. He has lived with me for 11 yrs and saw how that “drug” helped me cope. I recently gave up alcohol because the side effects of it make me miserable. It affects my sleep, it upsets my stomach and if consuming more than my share, can make me blackout. Medical marijuana has never done that, in fact, it helps me sleep, helps my stomach and calms my anxiety. Grow up people.

  20. JoAnn,

    They actually showed Reefer Madness to us as children, and even then it was a hoot, long before any of us knew what marijuana was. In the 60’s and 70’s it was our favorite show to watch while stoned. Next to Alice in Wonderland.

  21. John; I had only read about “Reefer Madness”, finally saw it late one night on TV, not sure if I laughed hardest at the movie itself or knowing it had been used to educate kids not to use it. In the mid-1950’s two boys I knew at Tech High School were arrested with a case of beer and a small amount of marijuana; their arrest – including names and pictures – were front page news in the papers and on TV. What a different world that was. I am trying to imagine “Alice In Wonderland” while being stoned…I can dig it!

  22. The more I read, everyday, regarding the foolishness of this administration, the more despairing I become. It seems that no area of government is free from complete reorganization into camps of dunder-heads that are turning back the clocks, ignoring all science and research, determined to take us back to a time of more ignorance & superstition. In another 3 years the USA will be unrecognizable — back to a smog-filled, polluted land that oppresses people based on skin color and place of origin and where the rich have become uber wealthy & the rest of us barely scrape by. When will the light bulb turn on in the mind of the average person? Maybe they don’t read science journals or economic papers, but they CAN look out the window and count their $$ in their wallet. How big a “shit hole” do we have to become before the majority “gets it”?!?!?!? Does anyone out there have a hopeful outlook?

  23. This is just idiotic but that’s an all encompassing phrase that she can use to describe this entire administration from top to bottom from virtually every vantage point. So while Jeff Sessions works as hard as he can to pay back those massive campaign donations his boss and the assistant boss (Pence) received from the for profit prison industry not a blessed thing is done by our Attorney General in regard to the ongoing Russian cyber attack on our governmental institutions and our society in general.

    Every day in one way or another this administration, if one wants to call it that, acts ever more outrageously throwing conventions of presidential conduct into the Potomac as if they’re so much garbage. Meanwhile, all we’re left with are our easy chairs were we can sit back and watch these offensive spectacles go on every day and see the one political party that’s left that might offer us is an escape route out of this catastrophe show itself to be more meaningless and in greater disarray each and every day. When we all go through two or three cataclysmic political events every day thanks to these maniacs how much dura mater are we going to have left to even find the voting machines let alone vote eight months from now? Maybe what we’re experiencing is also straight out of a KGB/FSB psychological warfare manual as do a lot of other things that this Putin-blessed so-called administration does each and every day.

  24. DOJ: Marijuana is a dangerous drug and is Schedule I because is has no medical use.
    Scientist: There is anecdotal evidence and I would like to do a thorough controlled study.
    DOJ: Nope! Can’t! We won’t let you. We will arrest you, the patients and everyone involved.
    Scientist: Why?
    DOJ: It is a Schedule I drug and cannot have a medical use. It can’t be given out.
    DOJ: It is a Schedule I drug because it has no medical use; It has no medical use because it is a Schedule I drug. Oh, and the earth is the center of the universe and we will burn any book that says otherwise.
    ** Note, that argument was used to prevent more than one scientist from doing research for decades. They simultaneously block research and cite the lack of research to justify their position.

  25. Len; the Flat Earth Society is now in control,we have no hope of pushing them over the edge of the world unless and until they are voted out. At that time, an interesting quote on Facebook may be put into action; “Knowledge (scientists) speaks, Wisdom (a new DOJ) listens.”


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