Tag: Jeff Sessions

Senate Judiciary Advances the Nomination of Marijuana Prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to be the Attorney General

WASHINGTON, DC — Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the confirmation of Jeff Sessions to be the next US Attorney General on a party line vote of 11 to 9.

There a numerous groups in the criminal justice advocacy space, ranging from the NAACP to the ACLU who are opposed Senator Sessions becoming the nation’s top law enforcement officer for various reasons, ranging from his positions on voting rights, capital punishment, and sentencing reform.

Sessions has a storied history of supporting marijuana prohibition, as NORML has well documented. This includes previously declaring  that “good people do not smoke marijuana” and  supporting legislation that would have allowed defendants to receive the death penalty if they had received multiple convictions for marijuana distribution.

His confirmation by the full Senate is not certainty, but should the chamber vote along party lines as the committee has, Sessions will likely be confirmed.

Click here to email your Senators TODAY.

The work of NORML to protect the fragile progress that states have made on marijuana policies will be more crucial than ever and we will continue to stand up for marijuana consumers. We still have time to make our concerns about Senator Sessions known and ask our Senators to further question him on the topic when he appears for questioning on the Senate floor.

Whether he gets confirmed or not, it is imperative that we raise our voices loud at this crucial time. Our Senators need to know that not only do we have concerns over Sessions’ record on this issue, but are willing to stand up for our shared beliefs and defend our marijuana reform victories.

Take one minute and email your Senators NOW.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Sessions Appears Headed to a Full Senate Vote

The nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s pick for attorney general, appeared to be on its way to a full Senate vote early Tuesday afternoon, as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee revealed the reasons for their intended votes. Through Tuesday afternoon it looked like a strict party line vote. If the pattern holds true through the roll call vote tomorrow morning, the committee will send the Sessions nomination to the Senate floor with an 11-9 favorable vote. The full Senate could vote on the nomination as early as Thursday.

Though the ultimate outcome—passage out of committee—was expected a week ago, few had foreseen such a close tally. Sessions endured relatively light questioning during his two-day confirmation hearing on Jan. 10 and Jan. 11. Most members of the Judiciary Committee, on which Sessions had served for many years, were cordial if not downright chummy with the long-serving Alabama senator. The most difficult questions focused on issues of racism, civil rights, and voting rights. When cannabis legalization came up in a couple instances, Sessions easily deflected questions without offering a meaningful answer.

RELATED STORY

Sessions Hearings Fail to Answer Questions on Cannabis

But after one week in office, President Trump’s radical and fast-moving series of executive actions have thrown nearly every cabinet nominee’s confirmation into question. Early Tuesday, Democrats stalled the expected committee votes on Trump’s treasury and health nominees, Steve Mnuchin and Rep. Tom Price, respectively, by simply not showing up. According to committee rules, at least one member of the minority party must be present to record a vote.

“This is not just a hearing on a nomination. This is a constitutional moment.”

Sen. Dick Durbin

No such boycott occurred at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s meeting Tuesday morning, although it’s uncertain whether that should be taken as a show of respect for Sessions and Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) or a calculated move to push back against Trump in a highly public forum. The Democrats may have decided to show up simply to use the committee hearing as a forum to vent their outrage over the Trump’s move to block mostly Muslim refugees over the weekend as well as his firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates late Monday night.

By Tuesday morning, it was clear that Democrats on the committee were alarmed by Trump’s moves and feared that a Sessions-led Department of Justice would do nothing to stop or even slow any executive orders that might violate the US Constitution.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) captured the feeling during his turn at the microphone. “This is not just a hearing on a nomination,” he said. “This is a constitutional moment.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said, “The administration’s unpredictable, reckless, extreme agenda has cast a shadow over all nominees, not just Sen. Sessions.” Leahy said that “now we find the independence of the Justice Department under siege” following the departure of Yates, whom Trump fired Monday night for refusing to defend Trump’s immigration order in court.

RELATED STORY

Trump’s AG Nominee Continues to Waffle on Cannabis

Yesterday’s Washington Post article by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, which called Sessions the “intellectual godfather” of Trump’s dramatic first-week moves, received a lot of play from a number of Democratic senators. So did this historic exchange between Sessions, then a member of the Judiciary Committee, and Sally Yates when she appeared for her own confirmation hearing years ago:

Leahy addressed those same concerns in today’s hearing. “I have very serious doubts that Sen. Sessions would be an independent attorney general” with the inclination to ever push back or say no to Trump’s wishes, Leahy said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) quoted Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, who called Sessions the “fiercest, most dedicated, and most loyal promoter in Congress of Trump’s agenda.”

Republicans, for their part, wrote off the Democratic objections as simply electoral sour grapes. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) summed up the position among many in the majority: “Our friends on the other side of the aisle seem to be upset about the outcome of the election on Nov. 8.”

RELATED STORY

Data Dive: Legalization No Longer a Partisan Issue, 2016 Election Data Show

Sens. Cornyn, Grassley, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) all spoke highly of the experience, preparation, and high moral character Sessions brought to the job. Most said they intended to “enthusiastically support” the nomination.

The issue of cannabis legalization did not come up during today’s hearing. The events of the past week served to push most secondary issues completely off the Judiciary Committee’s agenda.

At midday, Committee Chairman Grassley acknowledged that the hearing was likely to go on all day. With each turn at the microphone, every senator took his or her own sweet time to air concerns, grievances, and praise—and Grassley said he had no intention of limiting them. But the outcome looked certain. “I think everybody knows how everybody’s going to vote,” Grassley said, as he attempted to keep enough senators in the room to preserve his voting quorum. Later, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) invoked a procedural rule to push the official roll call vote on the nomination to tomorrow morning. The committee will reconvene on Wednesday at 10:30am EST to vote on Sessions’ nomination.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Trump’s AG Nominee Continues to Waffle on Cannabis

During confirmation hearings in the Senate this month, Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s nominee for US attorney general, left observers guessing as to whether he plans to crack down in states that have legalized cannabis. And if patients and businesses were hoping his written responses to policy questions would provide any added insight, they’re likely to be disappointed.

In his written replies to questions from fellow senators, which Sessions submitted last week, the Alabama Republican for the most part echoed what he has said previously about his intent to enforce federal law in states that have legalized cannabis, noting both the fact that cannabis remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act and the reality that the Department of Justice must prioritize enforcement resources.

“The exact balance of enforcement priorities is an ever-changing determination based on the circumstances and the resources available at the time,” Sessions wrote. Nevertheless, he emphasized, cannabis “is still a criminal substance under federal law.”

RELATED STORY

Sessions Hearings Fail to Answer Questions on Cannabis

Asked whether he intends to follow the Cole memo, a Department of Justice document that set a policy of not interfering with state-legal cannabis, Sessions again declined to commit to anything more than his intent to “review and evaluate” the policy.

“While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness of the policies contained within that memorandum,” Sessions wrote. “If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.”

It is important, Sessions added, that the government knows as much as possible about the health-related and other impacts of cannabis consumption.

“If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana,” he wrote. “Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this. If confirmed, will be to enforce federal law, under which marijuana is currently a Schedule One controlled substance—defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

RELATED STORY

We’re Watching the Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearings So You Don’t Have To

Sessions, famously, is no friend of cannabis. He once joked that he felt Klu Klux Klan members “were OK until I found out they smoked pot,” and is on the record as saying that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” In his written statements, the senator claimed his words were taken out of context.

“My words have been grossly mischaracterized and taken out of context,” he wrote. “I was discussing the value of treating people for using dangerous and illegal drugs like marijuana, and the context in which treatment is successful.”

Senators were initially slated to vote Tuesday on whether to confirm Sessions, but Democrats in the Senate have delayed the vote in order to spend more time reviewing the Trump nominee. A panel vote will be held Jan. 31 and afterward will head to the Senate floor.

Despite his limited support from Democrats, uncertainty around cannabis, and rumors of racist behavior during his time as a federal prosecutor, Sessions is widely expected to be confirmed as attorney general, where he will set national law enforcement priorities.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

AG Nominee Sessions Responds to Marijuana Questions from Senators

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) listens to a question during confirmation hearings on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has issued written responses to marijuana-related questions from several US Senators, but those answers still do not clarify the Trump Administration’s stance on marijuana legalization by states.

While on the campaign trail, President-elect Trump said that marijuana legalization was an issue for the states to decide. “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump said at a rally in Reno, Nevada in October 2015, when seeking the Republican nomination. Since those remarks were made, however, Trump has been silent.

During confirmation hearings, Sessions failed to give a straight answer with regard to how the Justice Department should respond to states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use and the ongoing conflict between federal and state marijuana laws.  Sessions continues to be very ambiguous when discussing the Trump administration’s intentions toward state marijuana laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Sessions’s nomination Tuesday, but Democrats successfully delayed the committee vote until next week to give them more time to review Sessions and the paperwork surrounding his nomination.

The Judiciary Committee will vote on Sessions confirmation on January 31. If approved by the committee, the full Senate would then vote.

Responses to questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):

How do you intend to balance federal marijuana enforcement with other enforcement priorities, given the number of states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana under their own laws?

As former Attorney General Loretta Lynch herself said during her confirmation hearings almost two years ago, marijuana is still a criminal substance under federal law, and it is also still illegal under federal law not only to possess marijuana, but to distribute marijuana. I echo Attorney General Lynch’s comments, and commit, as she did, to enforcing federal law with respect to marijuana, although the exact balance of enforcement priorities is an ever-changing determination based on the circumstances and the resources available at the time.

If confirmed, do you plan to continue the policies contained in the “Cole Memo”, which set forth eight enforcement priorities for federal marijuana enforcement? If you do intend to change the Cole Memo, how do you intend to change it?

While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness of the policies contained within that memorandum. If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.

During the last session of Congress, Senators Grassley, Leahy, Tillis and I introduced legislation to reduce barriers associated with researching marijuana. This legislation would expedite the Drug Enforcement Administration registration process to research marijuana, and allow doctors to use their existing registrations to conduct research and clinical trials on cannabidiol, rather than the Schedule I registration that is currently needed. It would also increase the scientific research base for marijuana by authorizing medical and osteopathic schools, as well as research universities and pharmaceutical companies, to conduct research using their own strains of marijuana and cannabidiol. The goal, if the science shows that marijuana or its components are indeed helpful in treating certain medical conditions, is to develop medicines that can be brought to the market with FDA-approval, just like any other medicine. I believe this is important legislation and plan to reintroduce it again this session.

Given the number of states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana under their own laws, wouldn’t you agree it is important that we know as much as possible about the health-related and other impacts of marijuana usage?

Yes.

What do you intend to do as Attorney General to advance our knowledge in that area? Are there specific regulations that you would ease related to marijuana research? If so, which ones?

If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will defer to the American Medical Association and the researchers at the National Institutes of Health and elsewhere about the medical effects of marijuana. Without having studied the relevant regulations in depth, I cannot say whether they may need to be eased in order to advance research; but, I will review this. If confirmed, will be to enforce federal law, under which marijuana is currently a Schedule One controlled substance—defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Responses to questions from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL):

You have said that marijuana should not be legalized and that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Would you oppose the nomination of a person to a position in the Justice Department or a federal judgeship if you found out that the person had used marijuana in his or her life?

My words have been grossly mischaracterized and taken out of context. As can be seen from the full quote, which I have provided below, I was discussing the value of treating people for using dangerous and illegal drugs like marijuana, and the context in which treatment is successful. As I have done in the Senate, if I were fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I would look closely at potential nominees to evaluate their character and fitness for the position.

Responses to questions from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT):

At your confirmation hearing, in response to a question of mine on whether you would use our limited federal resources to prosecute sick people who followed their state laws with regards to medical marijuana, you said “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government.”

Does this mean you would consider arresting and prosecuting patients who follow their 37 state medical marijuana laws?

As I testified before the Committee, I will not commit to never enforcing Federal law. Whether an arrest and investigation of an individual who may be violating the law is appropriate is a determination made in individual cases based on the sometimes unique circumstances surrounding those cases, as well as the resources available at the time.

Congress, through an appropriations amendment, has decided the federal government should not dismantle state medical marijuana programs. Since 2014, the Justice Department cannot “prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Last August, in United States v. McIntosh, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that “at a minimum, [this amendment] prohibits DOJ from spending funds from relevant appropriations acts for the prosecution of individuals who engaged in conduct permitted by the State Medical Marijuana Laws and who fully complied with such laws.”

Would this congressional prohibition prevent the DEA from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries that are compliant with state law, or from shutting down banks or other businesses that work with dispensaries?

The Ninth Circuit case you referenced is relatively recent, and I am not familiar with how other courts may have interpreted the relevant appropriations language or the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. As an emerging issue, that is one that will need to be closely evaluated in light of all relevant law and facts. I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will conduct such a review. Of course, medical marijuana use is a small part of the growing commercial marijuana industry.

Responses to questions from Sen. Chris Coons (D-CT):

In August of 2013, the Department of Justice released the Cole memorandum, providing that states could pursue their own marijuana policy as long as the policy does not violate certain federal priorities, such as selling to minors or transporting marijuana across state lines.

Will you continue to follow the Cole memorandum?

While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness and value of the policies contained within that memorandum. If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.

Will you instruct Department of Justice prosecutors to bring actions against those who use state-sanctioned medical marijuana, provided they are using it in accordance with the guidance of the Cole memorandum?

While I am generally familiar with the Cole memorandum, I am not privy to any internal Department of Justice data regarding the effectiveness and value of the policies contained within that memorandum. If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as Attorney General, I will certainly review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

100,000+ Demand DEA Stop Spreading Lies About Medical Marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC Over 100,000 people have signed an Americans for Safe Access petition on Change.org demanding that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stop disseminating false information about medical cannabis immediately and ensure that all of their future information on medical cannabis treatment reflect medically-accurate, up-to-date facts.

View and sign the petition here.

Last year, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a legal request with the Department of Justice demanding that the DEA immediately update misinformation about cannabis.

The request asks specifically for the clearing of misconceptions that cannabis is a gateway drug and causes irreversible cognitive decline in adults, psychosis, and lung cancer.

The filing references the Information Quality Act (IQA, aka Data Quality Act), which requires administrative agencies to devise guidelines that ensure the “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information” they distribute and to “[e]stablish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines.”

If granted, the filing could bring major changes to the way medical cannabis laws and regulations are treated by public officials. For decades, politicians have stated that now-disproven harmful effects were reasons to either prohibit or impose burdens on patients seeking safe and legal access to medical cannabis.

While the DEA admitted in August that the gateway theory and other harmful claims are not supported by science, they have yet to remove all references of the disproven information, thereby continuing to spread inaccurate information.

“Over 100,000 people agree that the DEA must stop disseminating blatantly false information,” said Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs for Americans for Safe Access. “The DEA has admitted that cannabis is not a gateway drug and does not cause long-term brain damage, psychosis, and other alleged harms, yet they continue to obfuscate the truth. This misinformation affects the decisions elected officials make about cannabis, meaning that our government has been legislating on behalf of millions of medical cannabis patients using false information for years. As a result, these patients are left to fend for themselves when it comes to a drug they are prescribed and need to manage severe symptoms like pain, nausea, and more. It’s time to put this issue to rest once and for all. We hope that President Obama will perform this final action to show his support for suffering Americans across the nation.”

View and sign the petition here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearing Draws Mixed Reactions from Marijuana Organizations

During his confirmation hearing for the position of Attorney General Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) avoided giving a straight answer on how he will handle states that have legalized marijuana, drawing a mixed reaction from organizations advocating for further marijuana law reform.

Erik Altieri, Executive Director of the NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says Session’s responses could be “leaving the door open” for enforcement of federal marijuana laws:

“So, after finally being put on the spot and questioned on the issue, we are no closer to clarity in regards to Sessions plans for how to treat state marijuana laws than we were yesterday. If anything, his comments are a cause for concern and can be interpreted as leaving the door open for enforcing federal law in legalized states. If Sessions wants to be an Attorney General for ALL Americans, he must bring his views in line with the majority of the population and support allowing states to set their own marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention.”

Mike Liszewski, Director of Government Affairs for Americans for Safe Access, says Sessions’ vague answers provide “little comfort” for patients living in states, including Sessions’s home state of Alabama, that have authorized some form of medical marijuana:

“The vague answers given by Senator Jeff Sessions during today’s Attorney General confirmation hearing provided little comfort for the 2 million American patients who rely on state-run medical cannabis programs to provide them with physician-recommended medicine. Each of the 44 states that have medical cannabis programs, including 15 states with patient access to CBD, such as Sessions home state of Alabama, technically violate federal law.”

Bill Piper, Senior Director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, called Sessions’s responses “wishy-washy”:

“Senator Jeff Sessions’ response to questions about marijuana & federalism during his Attorney General confirmation hearing today was wishy-washy at best. It is clear that he was too afraid to say the ‘reefer madness’ things he said just a year ago, and that’s progress. But he made it clear throughout the hearing that he will enforce federal law. He could have said he will respect state marijuana law, which is what President-elect Trump said on the campaign trail, but instead he said it is up to Congress to change the law.”

The Marijuana Policy Project’s Director of Federal Policies Robert Capecchi, was more optimistic, noting that Sessions was given the opportunity to take a hard stance on marijuana, but didn’t:

“It is notable that Sen. Sessions chose not to commit to vigorously enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have reformed their marijuana laws. He also recognized that enforcing federal marijuana laws would be dependent upon the availability of resources, the scarcity of which poses a problem. He was given the opportunity to take an extreme prohibitionist approach and he passed on it.”

Aaron Smith, Executive Director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, a group that represents the interests of the commercial marijuana industry, had the most positive outlook:

“In today’s hearing, Senator Sessions indicated that the Justice Department’s current guidelines for marijuana policy enforcement are ‘truly valuable’ in setting departmental priorities. That belief, along with the support for state sovereignty on cannabis policy expressed by President-elect Trump and his team, should lead Sen. Sessions to maintain the current federal policy of respect for state-legal, regulated cannabis programs if he is confirmed as Attorney General.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Action Alert: Call the Judiciary Committee Today to Protect Marijuana Progress

On January 10th and 11th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the nomination of Jeff Sessions to become the next Attorney General. Over the course of these two days, marijuana reformers and citizens alike from around the country will be calling members of the committee to have them ask a simple question: Does Sen. Sessions intend to respect the will of the voters in the majority of US states that have enacted to pursue alternative marijuana policies?

The stakes are high.

Senator Sessions is a militant opponent of any efforts to reform marijuana policy who once notoriously remarked that the Ku Klux Klan “was okay until I found out they smoked pot.” He is a staunch proponent of the long-discredited ‘gateway theory,’ and has called on federal officials to return to the ‘Just Say No’ rhetoric of the 1980s. In fact, he was one of only 16 US Senators to receive a failing grade from NORML in our 2016 Congressional Report Card because of statements like these:

“We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.”

“[Marijuana] 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.”

Please take a few minutes and call the following offices using this simple script. All in it should only take less than 10 minutes to call either the DC or home offices of these members and you will make an outsized impact on the future of marijuana policy in America.

“Hello, my name _______ and I am calling regarding the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Senator Sessions views on marijuana are completely out of step with those of the majority of the American public. They also conflict with the stated views of President-Elect Trump, who said on the campaign trail that questions regarding marijuana policy are best left up to the states, not the federal government.  For these reasons, I urge you to ask Sen. Sessions whether he intends to respect the will of the voters in the majority of US states that have enacted to pursue alternative marijuana policies. If his answers are unsatisfactory, I urge you to reject his nomination.”

Committee Chairman
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
DC Office (202) 224-3744
Des Moines Office (515) 288-1145

Ranking Member
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
DC Office (202) 224-3841
San Diego Office  (619) 231-9712

Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
DC Office (202) 224-5251
Salt Lake City Office (801) 524-4380

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
DC Office (202) 224-5972
Florence Office (843) 669-1505

John Cornyn (R-TX)
DC Office0 (202) 224-2934
Dallas Office (972) 239-1310

Mike Lee (R-UT)
DC Office (202) 224-5444
Salt Lake City Office (801) 524-5933

Ted Cruz (R-T)
DC Office (202) 224-5922
Austin Office (512) 916-5834

Ben Sasse (R-NE)
DC Office (202) 224-4224
Omaha Office (402) 550-8040

Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
DC Office (202) 224-4521
Phoenix Office (602) 840-1891

Mike Crapo (R-ID)
DC Office (202) 224-6142
Boise Office (208) 334-1776

Thom Tillis (R-NC)
DC Office (202) 224-6342
Charlotte Office (704) 509-9087

John Kennedy (R-LA)
DC Office (202) 224-4623
Baton Rouge (225) 930-9033

Senator Mazie Hirono (D – HI)
DC Office – (202) 224-6361
Honolulu Office – (808) 522-8970

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D – CT)
DC Office – (202) 224-2823
Hartford Office – (860) 258-6940

Senator Christopher A. Coons (D – DE)
DC Office – (202) 224-5042
Wilmington Office – (302) 573-6345

Senator Al Franken (D – MN)
DC Office – (202) 224-5641
Saint Paul Office – (651) 221-1016

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – MN)
DC Office – 202-224-3244
Minneapolis Office – 612-727-5220

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D – RI)
DC Office – (202) 224-2921
Providence Office – (401) 453-5294

Senator Dick Durbin (D – IL)
DC Office – 202.224.2152
Chicago Office – 312.353.4952

Senator Patrick Leahy (D – VT)
DC Office – (202) 224-4242
Burlington Office – (802) 863-2525

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Jeff Sessions Evades Firm Answer on State Marijuana Laws

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) listens to a question during confirmation hearings on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

During his confirmation for the position of Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions failed to give a straight answer with regard to how the Justice Department should respond to states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

The Alabama Senator was questioned by both Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) with respect to whether the principles of federalism ought to apply to state marijuana laws.

Senator Leahy: “Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people using marijuana in accordance with state law even though it might violate federal law?”

Senator Sessions: “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it is a problem of resources for the federal government. The Department of Justice under Lynch and Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion marijuana, some parts of marijuana.”

Senator Leahy: “Do you agree with those guidelines?”

Senator Sessions: “I think some of them are truly valuable in evaluating cases, but fundamentally the criticism I think that is legitimate is that they may not have been followed. Using good judgment on how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine I know it wont be an easy decision but i will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”

Senator Leahy: “The reason I mention this, is because you have some very strong views, you even mandated the death penalty for second offense on drug trafficking, including marijuana, even though mandatory death penalties are of course unconstitutional.”

Senator Sessions: “Well I’m not sure under what circumstances i said that, but I don’t think…”

Senator Leahy: “Would you say it‘s not your view today?”

Senator Sessions: “(laughs) It is not my view today.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) followed up with questions regarding how marijuana policy factors into federalism and asked if the way the Obama Administration has handled marijuana laws created any issues with separation of powers and states rights.

Sessions replied that, “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule, it is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

So, after finally being put on the spot and questioned on the issue, we are no closer to clarity in regards to Sessions plans for how to treat state marijuana laws than we were yesterday.

If anything, his comments are a cause for concern and can be interpreted as leaving the door open for enforcing federal law in legalized states.

If Sessions wants to be an Attorney General for ALL Americans, he must bring his views in line with the majority of the population and support allowing states to set their own marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

75,000 Demand DEA Stop Disseminating Blatantly False Information About Medical Marijuana

In a new petition from Americans for Safe Access and Change.org, over 75,000 people are calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to stop disseminating false information about medical cannabis immediately and ensure that any future information about medical cannabis treatment reflects medically-accurate and up-to-date facts.

The petition, which calls on President Obama to take immediate action, comes as the US Senate begins confirmation hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) appointment to Attorney General.

Senator Sessions has actively opposed the use of medical and recreational cannabis saying, “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and argued that cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to cocaine and heroin use, something that has been resoundingly disproved by scientific evidence.

Last month, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a legal request with the Department of Justice demanding that the DEA immediately update misinformation about cannabis.

The request asks specifically for the clearing of misconceptions that cannabis is a gateway drug and causes irreversible cognitive decline in adults, psychosis, and lung cancer.

The filing references the Information Quality Act (IQA, aka Data Quality Act), which requires administrative agencies to devise guidelines that ensure the “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information” they distribute and to “[e]stablish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines.”

If granted, the filing could bring major changes to the way medical cannabis laws and regulations are treated by public officials. For decades, politicians have stated that now-disproven harmful effects were reasons to either prohibit or impose burdens on patients seeking safe and legal access to medical cannabis.

While the DEA admitted in August that the gateway theory and other harmful claims are not supported by science, they have yet to remove all references of the disproven information, thereby continuing to spread inaccurate information.

“The DEA has actually admitted that cannabis is not a gateway drug and does not cause long-term brain damage, psychosis, and other alleged harms, yet they keep distributing this false information anyway, despite the reality these claims are not based on scientific fact,” said Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs for Americans for Safe Access.

“It’s illegal for the government to disseminate inaccurate information and the DEA must be held accountable. This misinformation hurts the millions of medical cannabis patients in the 29 states where cannabis treatment is legal, as well as patients in other states who are working to pass laws, for whom safe and reliable access to marijuana is a matter of necessity,” Collins added.

View and sign the petition here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

“Just Say No” to Jeff Sessions for Attorney General Campaign Launched by DPA

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (WikiMedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)

The Drug Policy Alliance is launching a campaign to put the brakes on Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General.

The Drug Policy Alliance campaign includes a new video launched today on The Root that exposes Jeff Sessions’ appalling record on drug policy, civil and human rights, and criminal justice reform.

The Drug Policy Alliance video, created by award-winning filmmaker dream hampton, alternates between archival media footage of Jeff Sessions’ troubling racist words and actions, and DPA staff and allies talking about what Sessions would mean for drug policy and criminal justice.

The video ends with a call to action asking people to call their Senators to reject Session for Attorney General.

“Jeff Sessions is a drug war extremist with a career-long history of racist comments and actions,” said Bill Piper, Senior Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “In recent years, Sessions played a critical role in blocking efforts to reform sentencing policy, asset forfeiture, and marijuana laws. We will do everything we can to stop his confirmation.”

The last time Sessions faced a confirmation vote, in 1986, his nomination was voted down by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee after they were confronted by Sessions’ extensive history of racist comments and actions. A black colleague testified that Sessions referred to him as “boy.” Sessions referred to the NAACP and other civil rights organizations as un-American groups that “forced civil rights down the throats of people.” He was accused of using his authority as a U.S. attorney to disrupt and prosecute civil rights activists who were registering African-Americans to vote. He even reportedly said he thought the KKK was “OK” until he found out its members smoked pot.

During his time in the U.S. Senate, Jeff Sessions has consistently supported efforts to expand the drug war and roll back civil rights. He was the chief opponent of recent bipartisan efforts to reduce sentences for drug offenses and has a track record of opposition to marijuana reform.  He is likely to use his power as Attorney General to accelerate federal prosecutions for drug law violations that carry draconian mandatory sentences and to interfere with state-legal marijuana and medical marijuana programs. Sessions is likely to expand the use of surveillance and policing against immigrant and marginalized communities. A Senate confirmation of Sessions would also position Sessions as a powerful foe of bipartisan criminal justice and sentencing reform efforts in Congress.

The Drug Policy Alliance is working with a broad coalition of organizations across the political spectrum to oppose Sessions.

The Drug Policy Alliance is urging people to ask their Senators to oppose the Sessions nomination.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.