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STEVE ELLIOTT

Your source for uncut, uncensored, no holds barred, non-corporate controlled cannabis news

[Strangers In A Strange Land]
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Jeff Sessions thinks you shouldn’t be having any sessions.
[Strangers In A Strange Land]

It didn’t take long for gullible Donald Trump fans who are also pot smokers to get double-crossed by their hero. Trump on Friday announced that Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, whose most well-known quote on the subject is “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” is his choice for Attorney General. Sessions once remarked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK, until I learned that they smoked marijuana.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions nominates Donald Trump for president on day two at the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 19, 2016. [Newscom]
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U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions:
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana”
[Newscom]

Sessions, a good-old-boy who was once rejected as a federal judge because he was deemed too racist to serve, was the first sitting U.S. Senator to endorse Trump. He has been in D.C. seemingly forever, and is completely a part of “the swamp” that Trump had promised to “drain.” In a statement, the Trump team said the President-elect was “incredibly impressed” with Sessions, reports Ryan J. Reilly at The Huffington Post.

The nomination of Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a long-time opponent of marijuana law reform, comes just days after voters in eight states decided in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes.

In a speech on the Senate floor earlier this year, Sessions criticized President Barack Obama for not being tough enough on marijuana, saying the U.S. could be at the beginning of “another surge in drug use like we saw in the ’60s and ’70s,” reports Rob Hotokainen at The Sacraemento Bee.

Erik Altieri, NORML: "Quote" [Twitter]
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Erik Altieri, NORML:
“Senator Sessions is clearly off the reservation when it comes to issues of marijuana policy”
[Twitter]

“You have to have leadership from Washington,” Sessions has said. “You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana … you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn’t lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.”

The selection raises immediate concerns that the incoming Trump administration may renege on campaign promises to respect the will of the voters in states that have elected to pursue alternative regulatory schemes for cannabis, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

“Trump’s nomination of Senator Sessions for the position of Attorney General should send a chill down the spine of the majority of Americans who support marijuana law reform, and who respect the will of voters to enact regulatory alternatives to cannabis prohibition,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “Senator Sessions is a militant marijuana prohibitionist who believes that ‘good people don¹t smoke marijuana.’

Paul Armentano, NORML: "Quote" [Vallejo Times-Herald]
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Paul Armentano, NORML:
“With the authority the position of Attorney General provides, Sessions could immediately get to work attempting to block the implementation of recent ballot initiatives”
[Vallejo Times-Herald]

“This archaic mentality is not what we need from our nation¹s Attorney General and we must put pressure on President-Elect Trump to ensure that Sessions upholds Trump’s campaign promise to not interfere with state marijuana laws,” Altieri said.

“Senator Sessions is clearly off the reservation when it comes to issues of marijuana policy and he stands diametrically opposed to the majority of Americans who favor the legalization and regulation of marijuana,” Altieri said. “This could foreshadow some very bad things for the eight states that have legalized marijuana for adult use and in the 29 states with with medical marijuana programs.

“With the authority the position of Attorney General provides, Sessions could immediately get to work attempting to block the implementation of the recent ballot initiatives, dismantling a legal industry in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska, and begin conducting massive raids on existing medical and recreational retail stores,” Altieri said.

Ethan Nadelmann, DPA: "Quote" [Freedom Leaf]
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Ethan Nadelmann, DPA:
“Jeff Sessions is a drug war dinosaur, which is the last thing the nation needs now”
[Freedom Leaf]

“Trump ascended to the Presidency by tapping into the divide between the views of ordinary voters and the policies espoused by Washington,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “One of the issues where this greatest divide exists is on the subject of marijuana policy, as evidence by the fact now more than half the country lives in jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana in some manner.

“Unfortunately, the appointment of Sen. Sessions — a longtime anti-marijuana zealot — will simply accentuate this divide and cost Washington, DC further respect and credibility with the ordinary American voter,” Armentano said.

Senator Sessions received a failing grade from NORML’s 2016 Congressional Report Card, released this past fall.

Bill Piper, DPA: "Quote" [Toke of the Town]
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Bill Piper, DPA:
“Donald Trump’s decision heralds a return to the worst days of the drug war”
[Toke of the Town]

“Jeff Sessions is a drug war dinosaur, which is the last thing the nation needs now,” said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Those who counted on Donald Trump’s reassurance that marijuana reforms ‘should be a state issue’ will be sorely disappointed. And not just Democrats but the many Republicans as well who favor rolling back the war on drugs had better resist this nomination.”
Sessions, who once said that the Ku Klux Klan was, “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana,” has a track record of opposition to marijuana reform. Earlier this year, Sessions spoke out against marijuana legalization in a Senate hearing, and urged the government to send the message to the public that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Sessions spoke of the need to foster “knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about.”

He has also said in a separate hearing that marijuana cannot be safer than alcohol because, “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to it and it is not harmless.” He is likely to use his power as Attorney General to close down state-legal marijuana and medical marijuana programs.

Sessions is also a proponent of harsh sentences for drug offenses. Sessions was the chief opponent of recent bipartisan efforts to reduce sentences for drug offenses, demagoguing that, “this proposal would provide for leniency for illegal alien drug traffickers,” and voting against the bill in the Judiciary Committee.

“Donald Trump’s decision heralds a return to the worst days of the drug war,” said Bill Piper, senior director of DPA’s Office of National Affairs. “Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’ but he’s gone to the very bottom of the drug war barrel for this pick.”

Steph Sherer, ASA: "Quote" [Medical Cannabis Conference]
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Steph Sherer, ASA:
“The nomination of Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General of the United States is a tremendous cause for concern to medical cannabis patients and their families”
[Medical Cannabis Conference]

Sessions also criticized the Obama Administration’s attempts to reduce the prison population by encouraging U.S. Attorneys to use mandatory minimums only for high-level drug traffickers, according to Piper. It is likely that Sessions as Attorney General would push for harsher sentences and increase the prison population.

“We have never had a president like this — so far removed from establishment norms, openly promoting white supremacy, believing in and promoting wacko conspiracy theories,” Piper wrote in The Influence. “Complicating matters, he doesn’t seem to have fixed positions, rarely gives specifics and contradicts himself often. No one knows for sure what exactly to expect, but we should assume the worst.”

There was a distinct note of betrayal in the response from Steph Sherer, the executive director Americans for Safe Access (ASA), when she heard news of the nomination. “Throughout the 2016 campaign, President-elect Trump repeatedly said he supports medical cannabis and that he believes states should be able to set their own policies in this area,” Sherer said. “However, the nomination of Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General of the United States is a tremendous cause for concern to medical cannabis patients and their families.

Tom Angell, Marijuana Majority: "Quote" [Marijuana Majority]
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Tom Angell, Marijuana Majority:
“[T]he new administration would do well to take a careful look at the polling data on this issue”
[Marijuana Majority]

“President-elect Trump needs to reassure the more than 300 million Americans living under some sort of medical cannabis law that his Attorney General will honor his campaign pledge to respect state medical cannabis programs,” Sherer said. “As a senator, Sessions has criticized the morality of cannabis users and has stated that cannabis is more harmful than alcohol. Plain and simple, medical cannabis is a critical therapy used by millions of patients to alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, and more.”

“While the choice certainly isn’t good news for marijuana reform, I’m still hopeful the new administration will realize that any crackdown against broadly popular laws in a growing number of states would create huge political problems they don’t need and will use lots of political capital they’d be better off spending on issues the new president cares a lot more about,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.

“A clear majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana and supermajorities across party lines believe that states should be able to implement their own cannabis laws without federal interference,” Angell said. “The truth is, marijuana reform is much more popular with voters than most politicians are, and officials in the new administration would do well to take a careful look at the polling data on this issue before deciding what to do.

 

aaron smith ncia
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Aaron Smith, NCIA:
“We look forward to working with him”
[Associations Now]

“During the campaign the president-elect clearly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and he should keep his word — both because it’s the right thing to do and because a reversal would be a huge political misstep,” Angell said.
Sessions has to be confirmed by a majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee – on which he currently sits – as well as on the Senate floor.
Sessions has been nominated before for an Administration position, in 1986 as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. He was rejected then by a Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee – only the second person in 50 years to be rejected, with the late Senator Ted Kennedy commenting that it was “inconceivable … that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a U.S. attorney, let alone a United States federal judge.”
Anthony D. Romero, ACLU: "Senator Sessions has called the ACLU un-American and communist, assertions we flatly reject" [American Civil Liberties Union]
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Anthony D. Romero, ACLU:
“Senator Sessions has called the ACLU un-American and communist, assertions we flatly reject”
[American Civil Liberties Union]

The Drug Policy Alliance is mobilizing their members to fight back and oppose Senator Sessions for Attorney General.

“Voters in 28 states have chosen programs that shift cannabis from the criminal market to highly regulated, tax-paying businesses,” said apparently Republican-leaning National Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Aaron Smith, ignoring Sessions’ long record of opposing marijuana on every front. “Senator Sessions has long advocated for state sovereignty, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that states’ rights and voter choices on cannabis are respected.”

“As a matter of organizational policy, the American Civil Liberties Union does not take a position supporting or opposing presidential or judicial nominations,” said American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “We do, however, educate the American people and the Congress about nominees’ records and past positions.

Aaron Herzberg, CalCann: Sessions is "the worst pick that Trump could have made" [CalCann Holdings, LLC]
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Aaron Herzberg, CalCann:
Sessions is “the worst pick that Trump could have made”
[CalCann Holdings, LLC]

“Sen. Sessions has called the ACLU un-American and communist, assertions we flatly reject,” Romero said. “His positions on LGBT rights, capital punishment, abortion rights, and presidential authority in times of war have been contested by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations.

“As the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, the attorney general is charged with protecting the rights of all Americans. In his confirmation hearings, senators, the media, and the American public should closely examine his stances on these key issues to ensure we can have confidence in his ability to uphold the Constitution and our laws on behalf of all Americans,” Romero said.

Aaron Herzberg, partner of general counsel of Calcann Holdings, LLC, a California medical marijuana real estate company, called Sessions “the worst pick that Trump could have made,” reports The Sacramento Bee.

David Dinenberg, KIND Financial: "Jeff Sessions is no friend of the legal cannabis movement and there is really no way to spin the nomination in a positive light" [KIND Financial]
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David Dinenberg, KIND Financial:
“Jeff Sessions is no friend of the legal cannabis movement and there is really no way to spin the nomination in a positive light”
[KIND Financial]

“It appears that he is intent on rolling back policy to the 1980s Nancy Reagan’s ‘just say no’ days,” he said. “He has displayed open hostility to efforts to legalize marijuana.”

“Jeff Sessions is no friend of the legal cannabis movement and there is really no way to spin the nomination in a positive light,” said David Dinenberg, CEO of KIND Financial, which specializes in compliance software for the cannabis industry. “The industry was hoping to avoid Chris Christie as Attorney General because of his lack of support; now, I am pretty sure this is no better and maybe worse,” Dinenberg said.

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