Back in February, when Jeff Sessions first assembled his hand-picked Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, it seemed definite that he was readying himself for a state level crackdown of epic proportions.
Then the results came in.
Related Story: Jeff Sessions Stands Alone In Marijuana War
Sessions’ own team of experts recommended staying the course (for now) with states’ rights and pot laws. Sadly, Sessions just doesn’t want to hear that message. Admittedly, it was a surprising message, for Sessions and thrilled marijuana lobbyists. However, that thrill may be gone before long. Though Sessions’ initial idea for a launch party may have gone awry, the rockets still fueled up and ready to go.
The task force gave Sessions results as they came in, so he’s known about their tame nature for weeks or longer. Yet still he’s been devising plans to crack down on states that have voted in full legalization.
In 2013, under the Obama administration, the “Cole memo” was released. Author Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole at that time directed federal agencies not to crack down on cannabis growers, purveyors or edibles makers if they were in full compliance with the law. The DOJ mostly kept to said memo and more states legalized, most people stayed within regulations to stay in business and cannabis flourished.
Now, in a Q&A with reporters on Wednesday, though he admitted not sentences before that much of the Cole memo is valid, Sessions said regarding his belief about cannabis, “I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
All in all, it sounds like “compliance” is about to be the hot word in every legal state. Though during the same Q&A Sessions stated that he would only make slight modifications to the Cole memo, he did say he would modify it according to his own ideas, and his ideas belong in the early to mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, his beliefs are steadfast. If his own task force couldn’t convince him to leave cannabis alone, his ears and heart are likely closed to the idea and legal states might have more to worry about than previously hoped.