Attorney General Sessions Won't Rule Out Using Mafia Law to Go After Legal Marijuana

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

On conservative radio talker Hugh Hewitt's program Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued to bad mouth marijuana and suggested he might use laws enacted to go after the Mafia against the legal marijuana industry.

"I think it's a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize. I don#39;t think we're going to be a better community if marijuana is sold in every corner grocery store," the attorney general told Hewitt.

The conservative talker then helpfully suggested that one way Washington could go after legal pot was by bringing racketeering charges against marijuana businesses.

"One RICO prosecution against one marijuana retailer in one state that has so-called legalization ends this façade and this flaunting of the Supremacy Clause. Will you be bringing such a case?" Hewitt asked Sessions.

Sessions didn't exactly jump on the idea, but neither did he reject it.

"We will um… marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws," Sessions said in response. "So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide. It's not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that's legalized it."

But Hewitt was not done chewing on that bone, asking Sessions if he couldn't just make an example out of somebody.

"I mean, if you want to send that message, you can send it. Do you think you're going to send it?" he asked.

Sessions had to clue in Hewitt about the difficulty of reining in the burgeoning the legal marijuana industry.

"Well, we'll be evaluating how we want to handle that," he said. "I think it's a little more complicated than one RICO case, I've got to tell you. This, places like Colorado, it's just sprung up a lot of different independent entities that are moving marijuana. And it's also being moved interstate, not just in the home state," he added.

Sessions has been a staunch foe of marijuana legalization, and the industry has been on tenterhooks since he was nominated as the nation's highest law enforcement officer. He attempted to soft-shoe his views during his confirmation hearings, suggesting that he wasn't going to aggressively go after the legal pot industry, but his comments with Hewitt may suggest otherwise.

Taken together with a memo on violent crime Sessions sent to federal prosecutors Wednesday in which he hinted at at rolling back Obama Justice Department policies directing federal prosecutors to not always seek the most serious charges in drug cases and to avoid seeking mandatory minimum sentences, his comments to Hewitt Thursday suggest that the Trump administration is about to head resolutely backwards on drug policy in general and marijuana policy in particular.

Listen to the Hewitt interview below:

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Goddamn sometimes I hate being right.

I'd say "told you so," but I'm too busy puking.

I wish I had been wrong.  I've been calling this shit out since right after the election.

What about you dumb-fuck Trumprhoids?  Still clinging to your delusional fantasies?

John Thomas's picture

Worst Case Scenario

From the article, Sessions says:

"It's not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that's legalized it."

This is an important acknowledgement.  -  At worst Sessions could close down stores and large commercial grows.    -  The feds cannot force state and local police to go against state law and arrest consumers.  

In the eight legal states (and to varying degree in the 28 medical marijuana states) it will always be legal to possess, consume, grow and give away small amounts of marijuana.  -  This is the form of legalization achieved in Washington, D.C. So, at worst, we would all be on the D.C. model for a few years.  -  Then, with the sky falling nowhere, restrictions on sales would gradually fade. 

We're in Russia now! What election?

I think you make a very good point.  However, I think we may have an even bigger problem, which is that is has become increasingly clear that Trump has cut a deal with the Russians to make America an active arm of the Kremlin.

We know that Trump won the election via Russia hacking, and that he paid Russia back by undermining American policy toward Russia, specifically, by changing the Republican Party platform regarding Ukraine, and by hollowing out the state department under Tillerson (also a Russia stooge.)  There is almost certainly more scandal there waiting to be uncovered.

Bluntly speaking, America is now a fascist authoritarian regime.  What makes you think we will ever have another fair election in America?  This is our "worst case scenario."

As summarized by Frank Vyon Walton from Daily Kos:

"Could our government now be an active arm of the Kremlin itself?  The more time goes on, the more this seems to be the case.  And exactly what, if anything, can or will be done about it?  The FBI appears to be compromised by packs of rabid Trump fans in their midst.  Trump's hand-picked deputy at the Department of Justice -- who with Jeff Sessions' recusal will have the primary task of investigating all this or assigning an independent counsel -- is now going through comfirmation hearings, with little indication that he may be blocked.  Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are led by former Trump campaign and transition members who -- along with CIA Director Mike Pompeo -- have already shown they're more than willing to shill for the administration to the press.


So who -- or what -- is going to get to the bottom of this?"

Don't make too much of this.

Clearly Sessions was just trying to placate Hewitt.

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