Good Riddance! Drug Reformers Applaud Sessions’ Departure from DOJ [FEATURE]

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced out of office Wednesday after less than two years in office, and while there is intense concern about the impact the move could have on ongoing investigations of Trump campaign and administration misdeeds, for drug and criminal justice reform advocates that concern is leavened by joy and relief at the forced exit of a man who staunchly promoted harsh and repressive drug and criminal justice policies.

Jeff, we hardly knew ye. (senate.gov)
Even as marijuana reform spread across the land and support for the tough sentencing practices of last century's drug war waned, Sessions strode bravely backward as attorney general. Among the lowlights of his tenure:

  • He escalated the war on drugs by ordering federal prosecutors to seek the toughest charges and sentences for drug offenses, a harsh return to some of the worst excesses of the drug war, one quite out of the mainstream of even Republican sentencing policy thinking these days.

  • He escalated the war on drugs by undoing Obama-era restrictions on federal asset forfeiture and restarting destructive asset forfeiture practices. His actions on asset forfeiture basically gave state and local law enforcement agencies a green light to evade state forfeiture laws by handing cases off to the feds in return for a massive cut of the proceeds.

  • He at least formally reversed the Obama administration's "live and let live" approach to marijuana reforms in the states, undoing the Cole memo that directed federal prosecutors to leave state law-compliant pot operations alone. But Sessions' anti-marijuana crusade ended up a quixotic quest, with even President Trump suggesting an openness to legal weed and leaving Sessions spinning in the wind.

  • He ignored harm reduction principles and best practices aimed at reducing drug overdoses and the spread of blood-borne disease by threatening to crack down on safe injection sites, facilities where drug users can shoot up under medical supervision that also serve as a nexus between problematic users and treatment and social services.

  • He undermined the work of the department's Civil Rights Division, particularly by moving to end the use of consent decrees that subject police departments troubled by brutality or discrimination to federal oversight.

Even some key Republican senators rejected his retrograde approach on marijuana and sentencing reform and have criticized his resort to civil asset forfeiture. While in the Senate, Sessions was one of the biggest obstacles to sentencing reform, and since he left, bipartisan support for drug policy reform has continued to grow. It's probably too much to expect progressive policies from anyone Trump appoints to replace Sessions, but it's hard to see getting someone more regressive.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) minced no words in its assessment of Sessions.

"Attorney General Jefferson Sessions was a national disgrace," said NORML director Erik Altieri. "NORML hopes that he finds the time during his retirement to seek treatment for his affliction of 1950s reefer madness."

The Trump administration needs to replace Sessions with someone more in tune with popular sentiment on marijuana, added NORML deputy director Paul Armentano.

With 33 states now recognizing the medical use of cannabis, and with 10 states having legalized the use and sales of marijuana for all adults, it is pivotal that the next US Attorney General be someone who recognizes that most Americans want cannabis to be legally regulated and that they oppose any actions from the Justice Department to interfere with these state-sanctioned efforts," he said.

The Drug Policy Alliance echoed that call.

"While Trump's dismissal of Sessions raises questions about the president's motivations, the Justice Department and Senate should seize this opportunity to right Sessions' wrongs," said DPA executive director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno. "The US public understands that the drug war has failed spectacularly and needs to be replaced with a health-centered approach. It is critically important that the next attorney general be committed to defending basic rights and moving away from failed drug war policies."

Jeff Sessions: A man whose time has come -- and gone.

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

Drug Policy Alliance is a financial supporter of both Drug Reporter and Drug War Chronicle.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Dain Bramage's picture

Trump will just shit out another one

Any AG Trump shits out is going to be bad for marijuana legalization, because Trump and the Republicans are bad for marijuana legalization. The problem is not Sessions, or Whitaker -- the problem is Trump.

Dain Bramage's picture

Remember: Trump picked Sessions

Don't forget: Jeff Sessions was Trump's FIRST choice. 

The problem here is Trump.

Dain Bramage's picture

OMFG!! DO NOT CELEBRATE FASCISM!!

I have been sounding the alarm for a long time: Trump's endgame is a dictatorship!  When will I get through?!

"Drug reformers" who are "applauding" the departure of Jeff Sessions need to step outside of their political silos, and SMELL THE FASCISM!!

Traitor Trump has now installed his political ringers on the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice. He may NOW ALREADY BE above the law -- the Democratic House of Congress may be all that stands between us and total tyranny!!

That is really, really bad, People. 

Look at it this way: people smoke pot in North Korea, but I would never go there as a "pot tourist."  That's like smoking pot in prison, only worse: at least, in prison, you still theoretically have SOME rights.  But in a fascist authoritarian dictatorship, you have NO RIGHTS AT ALL.

THAT IS A BAD DEAL.  But with the departure of Sessions and the installation of fake AG Whitaker, that is where we are headed:  FASCISM.

Definition of FASCISM

Start with reminder that the word is derived from latin "fascis" meaning a torch.  As in, modernly, the firebombing of Guernica by Goering's luftwaffe, or Dr. Goebbels' torchlight parade on 9th of 11th, 1938 (the first 911) when 863 synagogues were torched, or neonazi "Charlottesville parade" more recently.

Conveniently forgotten under a trillion-U$D of hatefearteasing(advertising) over the past century is that the all-time number one FASCIST symbol is the $IGGERETTE which kills 6,000,000 puffsuckers a year, 200,000,000 since 1853 (compare 1348-and-after "black death", estimated at 40,000,000, or 1918 "spanish flu", up to 50,000,00, which however saved millions of lives by helping end World War I, as we celebrate today (peace actually signed in 1918, 11/11, 11:11 am in a railway car somewhere).

Pro-cannabis campaigners have already saved millions of lives by spearheading the awareness of difference between $moking and VAPORIZING!!  American adult $iggerette addiction down from over 40% in Nix/Raygun period to 15% today.  In Europe and Commonwealth some countries are still over 40%-- why?  As an Australian Department of Health advisory put it, the "JOINT"-- especially in countries where there is a practice of mixing $iggerette tobacco in with the cannabis-- serves as a "Trojan Horse" to snare children into NICOTINE addiction!

If you think a "Joint" makes you feel good, relaxes you, etc., that's probably an effect of the carbon monoxide embroidered by mental fantasies facilitated by the THC.  In hot burning overdose drug cocktail $iggerette $mokers, the Nicotine wakes up the brain and makes the user hyper-alert at the same time as the Monoxide is making the entire body stupid!  This combination relieves their ANXIETY, which is the drug effect they most urgently crave.

If you want to give a gift to a family member hooked on either nicotine monoxide $igs or monoxide Joints, and can afford it, yes buy them a $600 Storz und Bickel/Tuttlingen Volcano.  But to save money, get a one-hitter for under $10, put a screen in the quarter-inch-diameter cup, slip a footlong FLEXIBLE DRAWTUBE over the butt (sucking-out) end, and fingergrind your herb through a 1/16" wire mesh strainer (to i9ncrease relative surface area aiding vaporization. 

When lighting (out far enough from your eyes that you can focus, that's why you need a drawtube) hold the lighter flame BELOW, suck smoooooth and slow (so air going in is 300-400F), don't start glow till after 9-19 seconds or so.  Then do 30 warm wet W's in and out of a breathbonnet (alias breadbag) in honour of the dawgwagner.

PS:

1.  LOOK IT UP: Sessions received campaign donations from $iggerette-monger corporations when running for reelection to Senate.  Does it figure they wanted votes against cannabis legalization which within a decade from now can exterminate $iggerette addiction worldwide?

2.  You may not like McConnell but nationwide hemp farming legalization is a ton better than nuthin.  Even if a few rich Repub cronies make money off it.  Hemp is top-rated precursor crop for REFERforestation!  Hempstalk fibres can REPLACE TREE WOOD in megatons of products worldwide.  And look up article, Wikiverrsity.org "Smoking/Cigarettes Kill Trees 19 Ways Worldwide".

3.  Did you figure out some ignorant foreigners still think the English word "Joint" refers precisely to the suicidal practice of mixing in tobacco with cannabis in the same puffsuckoverdose?  "Fwcqk the Joint!"

6 million a year dead from tobacco smoke, 200m dead since 1853

These are amazing numbers to try to comprehend. Cannabis is so much safer than tobacco, one of many reasons it's utter madness to ban weed..

Dain Bramage's picture

Corporate America was already fascist

Godzilla, pure motherfucking filler; get your eyes off the real killer.

-- Rage Against The Machine 

Now, I am no scholar, but from what I have read, historically, fascism has always demanded control of the means of production within a society: its industries.  That's why Putin and Corporate America are so cozy (think Facebook.)

I am talking about fascist Corporate America!

The enemy has been sitting on top of you the whole time: it is your employer.  So-called "drug testing" should have been our first, big, fucking clue, all along!

Dain Bramage's picture

"Puffsuckers"

"Puffsuckers."

An excellent term for cigarette smokers.  I like it!

Treedesigner, you have a way with words!

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