Donald Trump’s choice for U.S. attorney general, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, is a reefer madness drug warrior who promoted laws that include the death penalty for marijuana sellers.
During his recent Senate confirmation hearings, Sessions at first pretended he didn’t remember that in the 1990s when he was Alabama’s attorney general, he zealously promoted proposed state laws that established mandatory death sentences for anyone convicted of two or more drug trafficking offenses.
These offenses included mere conspiracy to sell tiny amounts of cannabis.
The laws would have also made it harder for marijuana defendants to exercise their constitutional due process and legal rights.
Sessions has defended his support for those state laws, which were widely seen as unconstitutional, and were never enacted.
He claimed at his recent Senate confirmation hearings that he no longer supports the death penalty for marijuana sellers.
Sessions has been an aggressive drug warrior since the 1980s.
During his Senate confirmation hearings in early January, 2017, Sessions was asked if he’d interfere with state marijuana legalization.
“I think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state and the distribution of it an illegal act,” Sessions answered. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”
“I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law,” Sessions continued.
Sessions has been a reefer madness drug war liar his entire political career.
Sessions once “joked” that the only problem he had with the KKK is he’d heard that members of the white supremacist group use marijuana!
He was a major player in Nancy Reagan efforts to intensify the drug war with her “Just Say No” campaign.
The senator stated his career mission is to create “hostility” to marijuana and marijuana users.
Senator Jeff Sessions presents reefer madness myths as facts.
He claims marijuana is addictive, leads to violent crime, and worse than alcohol.
When President Obama described marijuana use as a “bad habit” but also said marijuana might not be as harmful as alcohol, Sessions responded:
“I have to tell you, I’m heartbroken to see what the president said just a few days ago. It’s stunning to me. I find it beyond comprehension. This is just difficult for me to conceive how the president of the United States could make such a statement as that.”
Sessions refuses to accept the clear science showing that alcohol even in small doses can cause coma or death, while cannabis cannot cause coma or death.
Senator Sessions is also on record as stating that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Here’s a quote from Sessions about marijuana legalization:
“I can’t tell you how concerning it is for me, emotionally and personally, to see the possibility that we will reverse the progress that we’ve made. It was the [drug] prevention movement that really was so positive, and it led to this decline [of marijuana use]. The creating of knowledge that this drug is dangerous, it cannot be played with, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about, and trying to send that message with clarity, that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
During a Senate hearing involving confirmation of DEA head Michelle Leonhart, the following discussion took place:
“I’m a big fan of the DEA,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, before asking Leonhart point blank if she would fight medical marijuana legalization.
“I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people, I have seen the abuse, I have seen what it’s done to families. It’s bad,” Leonhart said. “If confirmed as administrator, we would continue to enforce the federal drug laws.”
“These legalization efforts sound good to people,” Sessions quipped. “They say, ‘We could just end the problem of drugs if we could just make it legal.’ But any country that’s tried that, Alaska and other places have tried it, have failed. It does not work,” Sessions said.
“We need people who are willing to say that. Are you willing to say that?” Sessions asked Leonhart.
“Yes, I’ve said that, senator. You’re absolutely correct [about] the social costs from drug abuse, especially from marijuana,” Leonhart said. “Legalizers say it will help the Mexican cartel situation; it won’t. It will allow states to balance budgets; it won’t. No one is looking at the social costs of legalizing drugs.”
Leonhart was later forced to resign due to numerous DEA scandals.
Sessions wants to see lots of people in prison because he receives lots of money from the private prison industry.
No surprise he opposes sentencing reforms that would release hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders from state and federal prisons.
What will it mean to our marijuana community if Senator Jeff Sessions becomes U.S. Attorney General?
“Jeff Sessions should scare every regulator, government official, cannabis industry operator, patient and consumer across the country,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Hudak said Jeff Sessions could easily use the FBI and DEA to attack state-legal marijuana growers, sellers, and patients.
Sessions expresses opposition to state marijuana legalization, calling it a “harmful disturbance.”
His Senate confirmation hearing indicates that as long as cannabis is federally illegal, he’s likely to use federal law enforcement to arrest people for it.
And Trump’s support of the murderous drug war in the Philippines (read about that here) also makes you worry we’re headed for a renewed federal war on marijuana.