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Chronicle AM: Sessions Concedes State Can Make Own MJ Laws, Mexico Opium, More... (7/27/18)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on Fri, 07/27/2018 - 5:05pm (Issue #1030)
Consequences of Prohibition

The US attorney general admits states can make their own pot laws, a new report finds racial disparities in marijuana enforcement in the New York suburbs, a Mexican governor calls for legal opium production, and more.

Jeff Sessions acknowledges states' rights even on marijuana policy. (
Marijuana Policy

Attorney General Sessions Acknowledges States Can Set Own Marijuana Laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while staunchly sticking up for federal marijuana prohibition, acknowledged Thursday that states can set their own pot laws. Responding to a reporter's question in Boston, he said the Justice Department will continue enforcing federal marijuana laws, but added: "Personally, my view is that the American republic will not be better if there are marijuana sales on every street corner, but states have a right to set their own laws and will do so, and we will follow the federal law," he said.

Report Finds Racial Disparities in Suburban NYC Pot Arrests. A report from the WESPAC Foundation, Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, and the Drug Policy Alliance released Thursday finds that marijuana prohibition in suburban Westchester County has largely targeted people of color and that the harms of prohibition have been visited almost entirely on them. While black people account for only 14% of the county's population, they made up more than half (52%) off all pot possession busts. Latinos were similarly arrested for pot possession at disproportionate rates. The report also noted the targeting of youth. Some 58% of people arrested for pot possession were 25 or younger.


UN Chief Warns Colombia It Must Consolidate Peace. In a report to the UN Security Council released Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the Colombian government must address major challenges and consolidate peace. He said there is no greater challenge than bringing development, security, and the rule of law to "vast expanses of the country that continue to be prey to violence" and that the challenges to peace included continued violence in conflict zones. "The proliferation of illegal groups and the growth of the coca economy, as well as frustration and fears among former combatants and among communities who feel bypassed by the peace process, leave no doubt as to the magnitude of the challenges that await the new government, Colombian institutions and civil society alike," he said.

Governor of Mexico's Guerrero Wants Opium Production Legalized. Hector Astudillo, governor of the south-central state of Guerrero, Mexico's leading opium production region, said he supports the incoming government's plan to explore regulating opium production for pharmaceutical use. "It's time," Astudillo told Mexican radio. "I'm delighted that a different way of dealing with the poppy is finally going to be explored." Astudillo himself had floated the same idea back in 2016. "To curb the violence, we must look for another approach to poppy cultivation, not only in Guerrero but in the golden triangle," he said, referring to the region in the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Durango where large quantities of marijuana and poppies are grown. "Because it's such an important ingredient for medicine, the poppy could be used for medical purposes, as is being done in other countries," Astudillo added.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Dain Bramage (not verified)

The only reason we are legalizing marijuana state-by-state instead of nationwide, is because Congress has, for many decades now, simply refused to do the right thing and legalize marijuana nationwide.  The current Republican Congress also opposes marijuana legalization, vehemently, and Republican Senators unanimously confirmed Jeff Sessions as the Top Cop, to prove the point.  Fuck the Republicans.

The Democrats are ready to legalize it, nationwide, now.

The Republicans love White Trash like Jefferson Peckerwood Sessions.  They will always oppose marijuana legalization, because for them, Evil Rules -- the more cruel the policy, the better.  Republicans love Hate!  They steal children, collaborate with hostile foreign powers, screw the working man, molest the working woman; they oppose all social justice, fair wage, and racial equality; and they will never ever stop shitting in the swimming pool!  If it is good for America, they are against it.  Fuck Traitor Trump, and fuck his soulless Republican butt-lickers!


Vote Democratic!

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 6:34am Permalink
YearofAction (not verified)

As more states enact their own marijuana laws, the DOJ should enforce the federal marijuana laws with respect for the Constitution, by rejecting the DEA's strategic misconstruction of the meaning of the federal definition of marijuana. The DEA's over-broad view is that "...the term 'marijuana' refers to 'the marijuana plant, considered as a whole'.", but the law defines no "marijuana plant".

The federal definition of marijuana explicitly identifies the plant in question as "...the plant Cannabis sativa L.", and in a roundabout way without regard for THC, it says that marijuana is derived from that source plant. The DOJ should intepret that definition in the way that does not surreptitiously conflate cannabis with marijuana.

The Attorney General should use his discretion to construe the definition of marijuana to mean the specific controlled substance that the DEA's interpretation has adumbrated. Congress should tell him to do just that.

Congress should also reform their equivocal, circumlocutory definition of marijuana to be unequivocal and straightforward in its meaning, while retaining only the constitutionally valid prohibitions that exist to control the recreational, medical, and industrial users of the versatile cannabis plant.

Real people should bypass the issue of marijuana's Schedule, by directing their members of/candidates for Congress to first enact this careful, comprehensive, and literal reform of the confusing federal definition of marijuana, that makes it clearly uphold our Constitution:

The term "marijuana" means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is, as are the viable seeds of such plant, prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company, and such smoke is prohibited to be inhaled by any child or by any person bearing any firearm, as is the intake of any part or any product of such plant containing more than 0.3% THC by weight unless prescribed to such child by an authorized medical practitioner.


Sat, 07/28/2018 - 11:13pm Permalink

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