Tag: The War on Drugs

Rod Rosenstein: Marijuana Is Federally Illegal and Has No Medical Use

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein responds to questions about federal marijuana policy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (C-Span)

WASHINGTON, DC — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was questioned about federal marijuana policy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, and his responses were disconcerting to say the least.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) asked Rosenstein about the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws.

“We do have a conflict between federal law and the law in some states. It’s a difficult issue for parents like me, who have to provide guidance to our kids… I’ve talked to Chuck Rosenberg, the administrator of the DEA and we follow the law and the science,” said Rosenstein, “And from a legal and scientific perspective, marijuana is an unlawful drug. It’s properly scheduled under Schedule I. And therefore we have this conflict.”

He further elaborated on the Trump Administration’s view of the Cole Memo, which was issued by President Obama’s Deputy Attorney General James Cole, which lays out guidelines for marijuana businesses operating in medical and legal states if they wish to avoid federal interference.

“Jim Cole tried to deal with it in that memorandum and at the moment that memorandum is still in effect. Maybe there will be changes to it in the future but we’re still operating under that policy which is an effort to balance the conflicting interests with regard to marijuana,” stated Rosenstein, “So I can assure you that is going to be a high priority for me as the U.S. Attorneys come on board to talk about how to deal with that challenge in the states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, whether it be for recreational or medical use…”

He also said that the Department of Justice is “responsible for enforcing the law. It’s illegal, and that is the federal policy with regards to marijuana.”

After testifying in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he also appeared before its House counterpart.

Representative Kilmer (D-WA) further questioned the Deputy Attorney General on the Cole Memo and the Department of Justice’s pending review of it, asking for an update on Attorney General Jeff Sessions view on it.

Rosenstein responded: “I do not have an update. I can tell you, it’s a very complicated issue for us. Under federal law as passed by the Congress, and given the science concerning marijuana, it’s a Schedule I controlled substance. That’s a decision I’ve talked with (DEA) Administrator Rosenberg about. Some states have taken a different approach and legalized or decriminalized marijuana for medical use and in some cases recreational use…The question of whether it’s legal under federal law is resolved because Congress has passed a law — it’s illegal. Scientists have found that there’s no accepted medical use for it. Cole made an effort to examine the issue and find a way forward for the department where we could continue with our obligation to enforce federal law and minimize the intrusion on states that were attempting to follow a different path.”

Despite these critiques, Rosenstein stated any revisions are likely to happen further down the road.

“For the moment the Cole memo remains our policy. There may be an opportunity to review it in the future, but at the moment I’m not aware of any proposal to change it. But I think we’re all going to have to deal with it 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.

Study: Racial Disparity in Marijuana Arrest Rates Increasing

African Americans in Virginia are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at more than three times the rates of whites and this disparity is rising, according to an analysis of statewide arrest data by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Capital News Service.

Researchers reviewed 160,000 state and local arrest records from the years 2010 through 2016. They found that blacks were 2.9 times as likely as whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana in 2010, but 3.2 times as likely to be arrested by 2016.

In some counties and towns, such as in Hanover County and in Arlington, Virginia, the black arrest rate was six to eight times that of whites.

The findings are similar to those of a 2015 report, which determined that the number of African Americans arrested in Virginia for marijuana possession offenses increased 106 percent between the years 2003 and 2014. That study concluded that blacks account for nearly half of all marijuana possession arrests, but comprise only 20 percent of the state population.

A separate analysis of Maryland arrest data determined that African Americans accounted for 58 percent of all marijuana possession arrested despite comprising only 30 percent of the state’s population.

A 2016 analysis of California arrest figures concluded that police arrested blacks for marijuana offenses at three and half times the rate of whites. A prior statewide assessment reported that police in 25 of California’s major cities arrested blacks for marijuana possession violations at rates four to twelve times that of caucasians. Similar disparities have been repeatedly reported in other major cities, including New York and Chicago.

A 2013 American Civil Liberties Union study found that nationwide blacks are approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though both ethnicities consume the substance at approximately similar rates.

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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 Escalates Drug War: Tells Prosecutors to Seek “Most Serious” Charges, More Severe Sentences for Drugs

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pushing back on bi-partisan momentum to reduce the amount of people behind bars, issued a memo to prosecutors, calling on them to push for the “most serious” charges against people, hoping to trigger mandatory minimum drug sentences.

The memo is a direct reversal of the policy of his predecessor, Attorney General Eric Holder,  who urged prosecutors to avoid draconian mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

“This is a disastrous move that will increase the prison population, exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and do nothing to reduce drug use or increase public safety,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Sessions is taking the country back to the 1980s by escalating the failed policies of the drug war.”

“The last thing our country needs to do is go back to the ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ mentality that has made the United States the number one incarcerator of the world,” said Anthony Papa, manager of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance, who served 12 years behind bars on a mandatory minimum sentence under New York’s draconian Rockefeller drug laws. “Jeff Sessions’ push for long mandatory minimums will destroy people, families and communities.”

This is the latest in a serious of measures that demonstrate the intent of the Trump Administration to ramp up the drug war. Sessions has indicated that he will also reverse the Obama-era policy of allowing states to set their own marijuana policies, and head of Homeland Security John Kelly is using the war on drugs to persecute immigrants, pushing to deport individuals for simple marijuana possession.

“Congress has to act now and serve as a check on the egregious behavior of Sessions’ Justice Department,” said Collins. “Both parties and the public have expressed a desire in passing sentencing reform – we need to pass a bill on this now more than ever.”

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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.

Trump Administration Plans to Slash Funding for Drug Czar’s Office

WASHINGTON, DC — The Trump Administration plans to cut the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) budget by nearly 95%, according to a report today by CBS News.

According to CBS, the cuts made to the ONDCP budget for fiscal year 2018 are being proposed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Among the proposed cuts, 33 employees would be cut, accounting for nearly half the office staff, along with intelligence, research and budget functions at the agency.

The Model State Drug Laws and Drug Court grant programs would also be eliminated.

Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance, issued a statement on behalf of the organization, which seeks to reform drug laws nationally.

“The reality is that ONDCP is an agency in dire need of reform,” Smith said. “Under Michael Botticelli, during Obama’s second term, the agency made progress in terms of seeing drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue. But we know that Trump and Sessions are keen on escalating the war on drugs, so there is a real fear that ONDCP will be used as another tool to prosecute this failed drug war – as it was under Bill Clinton and both Bush presidencies.”

“If that was the plan for ONDCP, then we would rather see it eliminated. The HIDTA and Drug Free Communities grant programs, run by ONDCP, are a phenomenal waste of money that contribute to the incarceration and stigmatization of drug users, so their elimination is a welcome move.”

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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.

National District Attorneys Association Calls for Federal Anti-Marijuana Crackdown

ARLINGTON, VA — The National District Attorneys Association is calling for the federal government to strictly enforce anti-cannabis laws in states that have regulated its production and distribution for either medical or recreational purposes.

In a new white paper, the group recommends that the Trump administration set aside the 2013 Cole memorandum directing US Attorneys not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s tightly regulated production and sale.

“To maintain respect for the rule of law, it is essential that federal drug enforcement policy regarding the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of marijuana be applied consistently across the nation,” the NDAA paper concludes.

The National District Attorneys Association is the largest and oldest prosecutor organization in the country.

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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.

Tom Marino, Trump’s Reported Drug Czar Pick, is Drug War Extremist; Linked to Scandal

Republican Congressman Tom Marino, Pennsylvania 10th (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON, DC — President Trump is expected to soon nominate Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA/10th) to be Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (colloquially referred to as the “drug czar”). Marino, a former prosecutor with no background in health or treatment, supports a punitive, 1980’s style approach to drugs, including mass incarceration and coerced treatment, even for medical and non-medical marijuana. Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, gave him an “F” in their 2016 congressional voter guide.

“Rep. Tom Marino is a disastrous choice for drug czar and needs to be opposed,” said Bill Piper, senior director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “America can do much better. Our nation needs a drug czar that wants to treat drug use as a health issue, not someone who wants to double down on mass incarceration.”

As a U.S. Attorney Marino showed preferential treatment for a friend convicted of cocaine offenses, while showing little mercy for others caught up in the criminal justice system. In Congress Marino voted against the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice from undermining state medical marijuana laws. He has called for “hospital-slash-prison” facilities where people caught possessing marijuana or other drugs would be forcibly detained.

Studies show that coerced treatment rarely works. Treatment works best when it is voluntary and meets the individual needs of the person struggling with substance-related issues.  A Human Rights Watch report found that hospital-prison policies in China, Cambodia and other Southeast Asia countries led to enormous human rights violations. An evaluation by the Drug Policy Alliance of existing coercive drug courts in the U.S. found enormous problems with little positive impact. Combined with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s support for executing drug traffickers the Trump Administration could move U.S. drug policy in horrific, un-American directions.

The nomination of Marino would represent yet another about-face by President Trump. Earlier this year the Administration signaled that it would seek to eliminate the drug czar’s office, determining that it was wasteful. On the campaign trail Trump said that marijuana should be a state issue and that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” positions that Marino holds the opposite views on.

The nomination of Marino for drug czar would also come at a critical time in U.S. drug policy. 29 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. Eight states have legalized marijuana for non-medical use. Polls show a majority of voters believe marijuana should be legalized like alcohol; a super-majority believes the federal government should let states set their own marijuana policies without federal interference.  Dozens of states have passed drug-sentencing reform, and a bipartisan coalition in Congress came close to reforming federal drug sentencing laws last year.

“The American people are moving in one direction and the Trump Administration is moving in another,” Piper said. “There are few hard-core supporters of the failed war on drugs left, but those that are left seem to all be getting jobs in the Administration.”

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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.

Report: Congressman Tom Marino Will Be Named Next White House Drug Czar

Republican Congressman Tom Marino, Pennsylvania 10th (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA) will be named the next director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), also known as the “drug czar,” according to multiple media reports.

As a member of Congress, Marino has consistently voted against marijuana policy reform legislation.

Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, issued the following statement in response:

“We are disappointed but not at all surprised to hear a marijuana prohibitionist is being selected as the next drug czar. After all, whoever fills the position is required by law to oppose any attempts to legalize the use of marijuana for any purpose.

“Despite a steady stream of anti-marijuana drug czars over the past several decades, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and eight states have enacted laws regulating it for adult use. We expect that trend to continue regardless of who the next drug czar is.

“President Trump repeatedly said he believes states should be able to determine their own marijuana policies, and the vast majority of Americans agree. We remain hopeful that the administration will respect state marijuana laws. It is also critical that Congress take action to ease the tension that exists between state and federal marijuana laws.”

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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’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement, Governors Fight Back

Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement, Governors Fight Back | Erik Altieri

This week, Attorney General Jeff “Marijuana Consumers Aren’t Good People” Sessions issued a memo outlining a requested task force inquiry into a number of public safety issues, one of which being the enforcement of federal marijuana laws. The memo was sent to 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice component heads to provide “an […]

Sessions’ DOJ Reviewing Marijuana Enforcement, Governors Fight Back | The Daily Chronic


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.

Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling

Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling | Phillip Smith

Barrels of ink have been spilled over the prospect that the Trump administration could attempt to turn back the clock when it comes to legal marijuana, but for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth out there, marijuana industry insiders, advocates, and activists don’t seem all that worried. “I don’t think there’s any more reason […]

Legal Marijuana: The Sky is (Probably) Not Falling | The Daily Chronic


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.

Federal Marijuana Sentences Plummet: Report

WASHINGTON, DC — The number of federal offenders sentenced for violating marijuana laws has fallen significantly since 2012, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

Just over 3,000 federal defendants were sentenced for marijuana violations in 2016, according to the Commission. That total is roughly half of the number of federal defendants that were sentenced in 2012. The total has fallen year-to-year since that time.

The 2016 total is nearly equal to the number of federal defendants sentenced for violating powder cocaine laws, and less than the number of federal defendants sentenced for heroin. Some 96 percent of federal marijuana defendants were sentenced for trafficking, with an average sentence of 28 months in prison.

Of those sentenced, 77 percent were Hispanic, 11 percent were Caucasian, and eight percent were African American. Fifty-six percent were categorized as non-US citizens.

In 2015, over 5,600 federal defendants were sentenced for violating marijuana laws, a total equal to some 25 percent of all federal drug sentences.

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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.