Why Jeff Sessions Should Smoke Some Pot

Jeff Sessions potOur Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, should smoke some pot!  He made speeches about the ravages of drugs on our country.  Apparently, he doesn’t know that marijuana isn’t in the same category as opioids and methamphetamines.  He ordered the U.S. Attorneys all around the country to consider prosecuting pot sales and possessions.

Maybe Mr. Sessions has been smoking pot and we didn’t realize it.  Here’s the history of what he’s over turning.

Under President Obama, the Justice Department decided to ignore most marijuana sales.  In a written letter, called the Cole Memorandum, the Department announced they probably would not prosecute these kinds of offenses.   Marijuana possession and sale were then and still are illegal.  But the feds decided not to focus this kind of drug offense.

In the meantime, many states passed laws allowing the use of pot for medical purposes or recreational use.  They set up a licensing and taxing process—much like alcohol is now.  Many entrepreneurs started businesses to manufacture and sell pot.  They did this even thought federal law still made their activities illegal.  The owners depended on the Cole Memorandum.jeff sessions pot

Now, Jeff Sessions has said the Cole Memorandum is gone.  Even if you are opposed to the possession or sale of pot, are there any good reasons to start prosecuting these “crimes?”

  1.  Most federal prosecutors are strapped for funding and personnel.  They may not be excited to prosecute pot possession when much more serious crime needs to be prosecuted.  These would include the opioid epidemic and the meth explosion in rural America.  If they spend the money and time going after pot smokers, that will take law enforcement away from far more serious drug offenders.
  2. It sets up a constitutional confrontation.  The governor of Colorado announced that his state will fight the federal prosecutors if they try to prosecute retail sales.  Why waste resources on this fight?  It will cost the taxpayers lots of money.
  3. Maybe Jeff Sessions is simply trying to appease his more conservative constituency.  But if so, why cause the uncertainty among those states that have legalized the sale of pot?
  4. I’ve seen surveys that say almost 70% of Americans agree with the legal sale of pot.  Why would Jeff Sessions want to prosecute possession or sale crimes?
  5. Can you imagine a jury in a federal court in Colorado?  The federal prosecutor busted a business in Denver and will ask the people—who voted to legalize the sale of pot—to convict one of their own citizens.  Won’t happen!

My hope, is that Jeff Sessions is saying the official position of the Justice Department is prosecution, but he won’t really pursue any action on it.  Maybe someone should offer him a  joint—

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About Colin Nelson

Colin T. Nelson worked for 40 years as a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis. He tried everything from speeding tickets to first degree murder. His writing about the courtroom and the legal system give the reader a "back door" view of what goes on, what's funny, and what's a good story. He has also traveled extensively and includes those locations in his mysteries. Some are set in Southeast Asia, Ecuador,Peru, and South Africa. Readers get a suspenseful tale while learning about new places on the planet. Colin is married, has two adult children, and plays the saxophone in various bands.

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