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Watch: Jeff Sessions Acknowledges States Have the Right to Pass Their Own Marijuana Laws

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1030)

Even as he defended federal marijuana prohibition, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions last Thursday conceded that states have the right to pass their own marijuana laws.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (
Sessions, an avowed foe of marijuana legalization, has moved to rescind Obama-era guidance to prosecutors that gave some protection to state-legal marijuana operations, but the reality on the ground is that even when given a green light by the Justice Department to go after state-legal marijuana, federal prosecutors in those states are largely leaving it alone.

Sessions has also been left isolated by President Trump, who has signaled support for legislation that would end federal marijuana prohibition.

Last Thursday, Sessions was in Massachusetts, where voters in 2016 approved marijuana legalization and where sales in pot shops are expected to begin sometime this year. A reporter asked Sessions about his stance on legalization.

"We'll enforce the federal law; the federal law remains the law of the land," he replied. "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.

After the press conference, a Department of Justice spokesperson told the comments did not represent a shift for Sessions. This is true: Sessions remains committed to federal marijuana prohibition, but he can't seem to get his US attorneys in states where marijuana is legal to do much about it. And now, he's at least admitting that states have the right to craft their own pot laws.

Here's the video:

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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)

We tried the courts, we tried the Congress.  They told us to drop dead.  States rights is a tactic of last resort, not a goal.  We can take it or leave it.  We won't give states any more legitimacy than the Feds when it comes to reefer madness.

I bet as a sure thing, that if the Congress and the Courts had not been intransigent, and had not committed their respective institutions to a permanent policy of reefer madness forever, even in the face of endless petitions, challenges, and motions, then nobody in the marijuana community except for a few intellectual cranks would give a rat's ass about "states rights."

Medicine is a human right.

But child-snatching Republicans wouldn't give a damn about that, anyway.

Fuck Trump. 

Vote Democratic!

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 6:49pm Permalink
Greenbrier Rick (not verified)

Certainly it has become fundamentally clear that the majority in most states want legalization of M.J. That being said, isn't like shoveling sand into the ocean against the tide for the federal government to spend one single manhour attempting to continue to enforce or even recognize the outdated federal laws. Get those laws removed from the statue.

Better use of federal money and manpower couold be used elsewhere.

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 1:20pm Permalink

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