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Congress Pushes Back Against Jeff Sessions’ Drug War 2.0

May 15, 2017
If Jeff Sessions was expecting applause for his bid to revive the war on drugs last Friday, he’s not hearing much of it from Congress. On Capitol Hill today, members from both sides of the aisle expressed their displeasure with the Sessions sentencing memo, which effectively withdrew a signature part of President Obama’s “Smart on Crime” initiative. That initiative sought to target the most serious crimes, while reducing the number of defendants charged with nonviolent drug offenses that would trigger mandatory minimum sentences.

Sessions new directive for federal prosecutors across the country is this: Charge suspects with the most serious offense you can prove in court.


5 Reasons Why Jeff Sessions’ Drug War Reboot Will Fail

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), known for his libertarian views, was among the first to raise his voice against Sessions’ new order.

“Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long,” Paul said. “Attorney General Sessions’ new policy will accentuate that injustice. Instead, we should treat our nation’s drug epidemic as a health crisis and less as a lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key problem.”

Among Democrats, the responses have been almost uniformly negative. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said that the new policy will cause costs to skyrocket and have a destructive effect on communities.

“It’s no coincidence that the Sessions memo was quietly signed on the same day the President was making major headlines for firing FBI Director Comey because of his investigation of Trump — this policy is unjust and unwise and can’t withstand even minimal public scrutiny,” Durbin said. Sessions held a news conference on the new policy earlier Friday. Trump has said he decided to fire Comey because the President thought he was doing a bad job and for being a “showboat.”

Other Congress members also took to Twitter. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) tweeted out his thoughts:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) recorded a video about Sessions’ move.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t hold back: “The policy announced today is not tough on crime,” he said. “It is dumb on crime. It is an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and do little to achieve long-term public safety.”

There were a few who agreed with the move, among them Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who offered praise for Sessions’ action, saying “law enforcement should side with the victims of crime rather than its perpetrators.”

Gage Peake's Bio Image

Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • Legalize420

    Let me start by saying #FuckSessions

    Now, i agree with sen. Cory Booker 100%,he is correct on every level. It is sick what sessions is doing and we all knew it would happen. Booker has the correct view and mindset in his video and I am glad that so many are finally seeing/adknowledging the utter failure and life destroying bigoted policy that is the war on drugs. As an advocate for freedom and human rights, I am disgusted with sessions and what he is trying to start. He just wants to ruin as many lives as possible during what will be I pray a very short 1 off term for him. Anyone who agrees with him needs a HUGE reality check.
    I will fight sessions in my own way, but I hope and urge anyone and everyone to not be afraid and keep up the lives your living. This administration is going to make a mockery of this country and what it stands for. Sessions follows the dictionary definition of insanity to a T. Trump is on a power trip, and many people already brainwashed by previous administrations and the government as a whole, now are doing what they know, to mindlessly vote one way regardless of the dangers said person will bring, and problems that arize as long as for the most part, it’s not a problem for THEM. THATS the huge issue people gotta face up to. So many people make life altering decisions of others that have absolutely no effect on THEM. But of course they cry when finally their person does something that has effect towards them, then their tune changes. If people need to be hit in the head with a hammer to see reality, like sessions or anyone that voted for him or trump, they shouldn’t be voting.
    I am sick of having my life turned upside down by mindless decisions others make that have nothing to do with them but THOUSANDS of others.

    Sessions has also an obsessive hatred of cannabis, a plant. A plant that’s never once caused a single death or I’ll effect other than being caught with it. That’s in our bodies naturally and has helped SO many people. In a opioid epidemic meeting he brings up cannabis. He is not if sound mind and body to hold a position such as AG. Period end of story.

    We all need to unite and have these failed bigoted policies axed once and for all and start being more concerned with helping nonviolent people of ANY color, race, financial situation, or nationality. Let’s #EndSessions and do everything in our power to show these people we will NOT be victims of other peoples moral instabilities.

    • Chaddy Liquor Tits

      Perfectly said. We need you in the White House asap!

      • Legalize420

        Haha, I’d make a terrible president as I believe in freedom and the right to live as you choose as well as going back to free trade as IMO $$ is the root of all evils. I’d have cannabis legal, and allow states to function on their own terms as well as working with others and not in my own interests but everyone else’s. Also Im for ending racism and control and jailing nonviolent people and all that is 100% against what anyone in WA wants as well as refusing to be “bought out”.
        I am just a person who can see through the BS and won’t be controlled or brainwashed. I won’t let it happen. We do need someone who’s progressive and not 100% “on the take” and “self centered”. I’m a very strong believer of freedom and I hate to see how people are completely abusing everything this country was founded on and twisting it around to fit their own personal agenda. Of course with 0 regard for the people that aren’t at the same Level as they are.
        We do need a drastic overhaul as I am scared this place can get WORSE than it is. I am personally poor and live on welfare, and depend on MMJ and other stuff to function, but I can see the wool through the trees and I hate seeing failure after failure and good people getting screwed over and their lives turned upside down for just trying to live, let alone “get ahead” which is impossible.

        I personally say we all start taking cannabis seeds and plant them EVERYWHERE all over every state. Overgrow and show how harmless it is and how senseless it is to attack a plant and people that use it.
        As a song I love by Mendo Dope goes “…If I could talk to God, he’d tell me, your doing just what I told ya”. We NEED down to earth people with a conscience in office or this country will go under big time as we are a sinking ship and Sessions/trump are just drilling more holes.

        Thanks though man, haha. If only…

    • Sonny Cole

      it works both ways it does not matter what side you are on someone is going to lose

      • If you are a health nut or pot head you lose if weed does not get de-scheduled. Cannabis is the healthiest plant on earth, it’s been shown by numerous scientist, botanists, and nutritionist. Seeds of the plant cannabis sativa, hemp seed, contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs. Only people who still believe the biggest lie ever told by government, think they will lose if cannabis is de-scheduled.

  • Kris Mccleery

    Sessions is also in the pocket of the private prison system. That system is primarily owned by two companies that donated heavily to tRump’s campaign… Thanks to Citizens United…

    • Tom V

      You bet he is, Kris! This guy is a clown!

  • Tom V

    “Waaa dat… Om Jeffuson Blowmehod Sesshions. Om ode skool. drugs aint be no guud. Mariwanna make you go aw craze and I have a lot of interest in privatizing jails and give mariwanna usears more time so I get more money because I invested in jail privitzation.”

    • Juan Martinez

      You sound like a crackhead.

      • Tom V

        Sup Juan… Nope, not a crackhead… Just imitating Sessions. He has the most ridiculous outlook on some drugs that I have EVER seen! Listen, man, I’m 62, and I’m HIS age, okay… This guy is SOO old school he reminds me of my Grandfather! I’m serious the guys an oddball, Juan!

        • Juan Martinez

          JK Tom, I am 1 year older than you and yes I recognize sarcasm. Best of luck, always!!

      • Geoff Jacobs

        Actually, he was imitating Mr. Sessions, who believes he is the modern-day George Wallace from Alabama. Uneducated and insane.

    • Chaddy Liquor Tits


      • Tom V

        Looks like you’re the only one that got that, Chaddy. 🙂

  • 1janicebeaty5

    I am a republican but the war on drugs has always been a joke designed to get the government $ and control. Crack down on the hard drugs legalize marijuana and have your phamacies and Dr.s to quit subscribing the stongest drugs they have rt. off the bat. I believe big pharma and government like getting persons addicted to pain killers/ nerve medications so they can make money for the phamacy companies and for the government under arrests having court costs attorney fees fines etc. for the non violent. the violent you slap on the wrist and let go.

    • Legalize420

      This is very true sadly. The cartels are secretly in bed with the government which is why you only hear focus and references to dealers and the drugs themselves . As if a person isn’t a person because they need a medication to live. It’s messed up, big time.
      The cartels give tons of $$ to politicians and others and their part goes unnoticed. So the focus is to teach kids to turn in neighbors, friends, parents and to go after the dude making 1000/week say, or sick person using said thing to help get through, but these are the burdens they want to focus on. They don’t help the people in need, just get rid if them all will fix everything. It’s a sad reality. Lives ruined for nothing, just so a few politicians can get richer(as if they need it) and the citizens get the big foot in our ass.

      I’ve been through it, been to court 5 times since I was 16 and all for cannabis use/possession. My life and body are in terrible shape and it’s because I need more of something thats a part of me, to level my receptors and such out. I’m more watched in some towns than rapists and people who steal shit. I was brought in once just because they want to find me guilty as they know what I do and have me removed from their town. I was “close” to a description given to them they said. Funny thing was my family’s the same as the gov in terms of thinking and they wanted rid of me also, so was put on the street with nothing and no clue what to do so was in a diff town when whatever happened happened. I’ve never stolen anything but, That’s the American way of thinking the gov pushes. If it’s different, get rid of it, don’t try to understand it. Anyway, unless something is dome about sessions by the time he’s gone so will many of us be.
      I hope everyone makes it through this hell that is the trump era but sadly there will be more victims than survivors with sessions as AG.

  • Brian Mitchell

    Such bullshit, they said in the above statement that president Trump fired Comey because Comey was investigating Trump FAKE NEWS. That is NOT the reason Trump fired comey

  • RRBB

    I thought we dodged a bullet when fat-boy Christie was not selected as Attorney General. However, the in-bred hillbilly from Alabama may be even worse. Hopefully he’ll be too busy trying to keep his boss from being impeached to go after weed smokers.

  • Tonya Masters

    Here in Oklahoma city alone Governor Mary Fallin has stated we have a $900,000,000 shortfall in the 2017 effecting road and bridge repairs, teacher’s salarys, education etc.. I mean in the road conditions alone Oklahoma leads the country in the worse of the worse. In my opinion all 50 states(especially Oklahoma) should pull our heads out of our ass and legalize marijuana both medical & recreational. Not only for the tax revenue it would bring pay for decent roads, upgrade education, pay teacher’s a decent salary, create thousands of jobs and business opportunities, lower the unemployment percentage, pay off the national deficit that doubled in the last eight years. Really folks this is common sense not rocket science.
    Let me finish by saying #÷*% Sessions!

  • Chaddy Liquor Tits

    @Leafly … somehow this forum has attracted Trump supporters and racist assholes, aka the stupidest people on the planet. Please step up your moderation so that these useless trolls don’t ruin the site for intelligent conversations.

  • Tom V

    Don’t know what you mean by that, Tonya. Can you please explain, “Educated Black Person Sounds Like” WHAT?

    • Geoff Jacobs

      She just wanted to show her tits. Classy…

  • Geoff Jacobs

    That uneducated, racist little bastard is insane!!

  • Izzat So

    WHEN are one or more of the gutless wonders in congress going to wake up and start IMPEACHMENT on sessions for (1) lying to the confirmation committee and (2) lying about recusing himself from the Russian investigations? These are valid legal reasons why sessions should not be attorney general and should be immediately removed from office, but apparently (so far) none of his congressional buddies want to stand up for what is right. Grow a spine, congress.

    • Legalize420

      I am 100% waiting for same.

  • MarlboroStan

    Its a lot easier to prove, by a jury, that a black person committed a crime. Why you may ask? Because with all things being equal, black people are 3 times more likely to be charged and convicted of a crime. Let me rephrase that. Researchers have stripped away all the variables that go with convicting someone of a crime. They stripped them all away and ran the numbers based on just the facts of the case. What they found are black people are still 2 to 3 times more likely to be convicted.

  • IntlExec

    These imbeciles do not get it, everybody is in it ! After the USA set up five bases in Colombia they have managed to get the FARC of of the business and manage the labs directly, what do you think 500 Tones are made there and only a few are caught into Mexico..? The same with Afghanistan we are only there to protect the Poppy Crops…..Drugs provide billions per day in Cas$ !

  • Boogie

    He’s from another time when most thought Cannabis was a narcotic. It was classified that way because of politics and nothing more. Sessions doesn’t get that the social consciousness has been rising since he was a teenager and young politician and he needs to get on the bus, albeit a late freight, and the sooner the better. The times have been changing right before our eyes and you just can’t shut them and pretend it’s not going on. Not if you wish to accumulate any support for your position, that is.

  • sharpss

    How can we put up with this crap for 4 more years? Sessions is a detestable P.O.S. I urge the west coast to cecede from this barbaric backward country where the south is still fighting the civil war and the idiots are clinging to their guns and their bibles. STUPID AND IGNORANT, STUPID AND IGNORANT!!

  • Tygonwu

    Jeff Sessions was not good enough for previous administrations, and he has done nothing to change those perceptions. Mr. Trump seems to only appoint losers (perhaps that is because they are all he knows)