Refresh Checked Unchecked Menu Search Shopping bag Geolocation Person Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Info Icon CBC Icon CBC Shape CBD Icon CBD Shape CBG Icon CBG Shape THC Icon THC Shape THCV Icon THCV Shape
Advertise on Leafly

Politicians Outraged: Sessions Move ‘Trampled the Will of the Voters’

January 4, 2018
Keith Ellison, US Representative for Minnesota (David Zalubowski/AP)
This morning brought news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Cole memo, the Obama-era policy that protected US states with legal cannabis from federal prosecution. In the wake of the news, numerous politicians, activists, and industry insiders weighed in via Twitter, interviews, and public statements. Here’s a collection of what’s been said.

Cory Gardner, US Senator from Colorado:

“This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states. (President Donald Trump) had it right. This must be left up to the states.”

Gardner tears into Sessions move on Senate floor earlier today: 

Keith Ellison, US Representative for Minnesota:

“The war on drugs didn’t stop drug usage; it just ruined a lot of lives. Jeff Sessions is reviving it because he believes in using the criminal justice system as an instrument of racial and economic control of poor people and brown people.”

Jay Inslee, Washington State Governor: 

“Today’s forthcoming announcement from Attorney General Sessions is the wrong direction for our state. It is also disrespects Washington voters who have chosen a different path for our state. I am especially frustrated that this announcement comes after Sessions has refused offers from Attorney General Ferguson and myself to meet with him to discuss these policies in person, after he has disregarded the input that we and other state leaders have provided to his department.”

Bob Ferguson, Attorney General for Washington State:

“I am disappointed and troubled by reports that AG Sessions plans to abandon the current federal policy on marijuana—a policy that respects states’ rights and focuses federal enforcement on key, shared areas of concern. Over the past year, Sessions has demonstrated a stunning lack of knowledge about our state’s marijuana laws. If reports are accurate, Sessions is changing policy after refusing multiple requests for a meeting from Governor Jay Inslee and myself. I pledge to vigorously defend the will of the voters in Washington State.”

Earl Blumenauer, US Congressman from Oregon:

“This is outrageous. Going against the majority of Americans—including a majority of Republican voters—who want the federal government to stay out of the way is perhaps one of the stupidest decisions the Attorney General has made. One wonders if Trump was consulted—it is Jeff Sessions after all—because this would violate his campaign promise not to interfere with state marijuana laws. It’s time for anyone who cares about this issue to mobilize and push back strongly against this decision.”

Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator for New York:

“Attorney General Sessions’ decision to restrict states’ ability to legalize and decriminalize marijuana is either willfully ignorant of the medical science or an act of greed on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. In either case, it’s an attack on patients, and it’s wrong.”

Adam Schiff, US Representative for California:

“As more states, including California, legalize and regulate marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational use, turning back the clock on federal enforcement is a waste of limited resources. I believe the hands-off policy should be reinstated, by Congressional action if necessary.”

Elizabeth Warren, US Senator from Massachusetts:

“The Justice Department’s reckless decision to rescind its policy allowing states to enforce their own drug policies puts our public health and safety at risk. Congress needs to take immediate action to protect state marijuana laws, and the patients that rely on them.”

Ron Wyden, US Senator from Oregon:

“Trump promised to let states set their own marijuana policies. Now he’s breaking that promise so Jeff Sessions can pursue his extremist anti-marijuana crusade. Once again the Trump administration is doubling down on protecting states’ rights only when they believe the state is right. Opening the door to go after legal marijuana businesses ignores the will of the majority of Americans and marks yet another socially unjust and economically backward scheme from this administration. Any budget deal Congress considers in the coming days must build on current law to prevent the federal government from intruding in state-legal, voter-supported decisions.”

Michael Bennet, US Senator from Colorado:

“In rescinding the Cole memo, the Attorney General failed to listen to Colorado, and will create unnecessary chaos and confusion.”

Ted W. Lieu, member of US House of Representatives, from California: 

“AG Jeff Sessions apparently wants to take America back to the 1920s. Prohibition didn’t work then and it will not work now. Congress needs to pass sensible laws to prevent a monumental waste of precious federal resources chasing Americans who use.”

Justin Strekal, NORML political director:

“If the Trump administration goes through with a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana, they will be taking billions of dollars away from regulated, state-sanctioned businesses and putting that money back into the hands of drug cartels.” —to the Washington Post

Bernie Sanders, US Senator from Vermont:

‏”No, Attorney General Sessions. Marijuana is not the same as heroin. No one who has seriously studied the issue believes that. Quite the contrary. We should allow states the right to move toward the decriminalization of marijuana, not reverse the progress that has been made.”

Dave Schmader's Bio Image

Dave Schmader

Dave Schmader is the author of the book "Weed: The User's Guide." Follow him on Twitter @davidschmader

View Dave Schmader's articles

  • Grow Your Own

    Stick with Pres Trump’s “This must be left up to the states” Statement.
    Allow the states & their Voters to decide whether to Legalize Cannabis consumption within the State Boundary’s not the Fed Government. Allow the States to remove Cannabis from the Controlled Substances List so Cannabis Levels in the Blood Stream wont be used to interfere with a persons prospects of holding a job in a Non Technical area.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removal_of_cannabis_from_Schedule_I_of_the_Controlled_Substances_Act

    • Loren

      Once again… Removing cannabis from the CSA of 1970 is up to THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Unfortunately, states cannot do this on their own.

  • zoom man

    This country needs 100 Cory Gardners in the Senate. Preferably not all republicans, but hats off to this Senator!

  • Grow Your Own

    Stick with Pres Trump’s “This must be left up to the states” Statement.
    Allow the states & their Voters to decide whether to Legalize Cannabis consumption within the State Boundary’s not the Fed Government. Allow the States to remove Cannabis from the Controlled Substances List so Cannabis Levels in the Blood Stream wont be used to interfere with a persons prospects of holding a job in a Non Technical area.

    • Bill Weber

      that is old news buddy he changed his mind today and agrees with sessions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMp8ukbYBXg 10:30 into the press breifing confirms this.

      • calvet11

        Sessions is a tool.

    • Scott

      controlled substances act is a federal law and would require congress to remove or change the classification.

      Call your senators and tell them support Bookers Marijuana Justice Act. And have these decisions taken from AG Sessions hands.

    • lovingc

      Trump’s promises mean nothing, the man lies every day. The last year he has lied or misstated facts 1950 times that is more than 5 times a day that he lies.

  • MindFog2287

    Keith Ellison is spot on – “Jeff Sessions is reviving it because he believes in using the criminal justice system as an instrument of racial and economic control of poor people and brown people.”

    Jeff Sessions might be a liar (to Congress) and a traitor (re: involvement with Russia via Trump’s transition team), but beyond that he is and always has been simply a racist. He’ll be happy to turn a whole bunch of poor & brown people over to the prison industrial complex for marijuana possession.

  • Stimpy

    How did this Keebler Elf become AG? What a tool. Trump, you haven’t been happy with this guy from the get go. This is your chance to dump this neanderthal. The voters are watching. Mid terms are coming. Do the right thing.

    • Larry342516

      Sessions job is to enforce the Laws, and not make them or change them. You want to blame someone blame our lazy law makers.

      • lovingc

        It is not lazy people causing the problem, haven’t you heard about the republicans blocking all cannabis legislation? You can’t change a law if you can’t get it past the road block committees you can’t vote on it.

      • 360dunk

        No, Larry….Sessions does not get a pass for his stupidity. Common sense says that marijuana is NOT equivalent to heroin and should not be classified as such. True, Sessions did not make that ridiculous law but he should realize it’s unenforceable and thus focus his resources on terrorism, criminal gangs, and white collar crime. Common freaking sense.

  • Paul Revere

    this is a 10th amendment issue. the federal government has no enumerated power to the federal government. This will go to the SCOTUS. then a fight about the 10th amendment will ensue. IF the feds lose, then many marijuana incarcerated people should also be set free for the overreach

    • GetAClueBucko

      The Supreme court was also hijacked by the GOP and Trump, so look out.

  • Paloverde Jimmy

    This just might be the push that it takes to force the issue of cannabis prohibition to a head. If the federal government wants to push their agenda on a public that has demonstrated that the majority support legalization, they just might force our congress and senate to take action toward decriminalizing it. One question might be, What level of hatred and mistrust will the feds create between the American people and the federal government before they lose anyway? The war on drugs is a dismal failure, except for those who own prisons.

    • calvet11

      Right you are sir, also Big Pharma, Big Liquor, Big Tobacco, and yes Big Private Prison.

      • Paloverde Jimmy

        It will be interesting to see how outraged the politicians remain. Voters are only important every other year, big dollars are important every day. It is a sad fact. A few people with huge money always have the attention of our politicians. It takes a major swell of voters to even get their attention. Millions of voters have pushed for reason, but billions of dollars are at stake.

        • lovingc

          The mid terms happen this year. Get out and vote! Change the congresses majorities by the vote and take back our government from these evil people that are quite happy giving your money to the richest people in the country and steal it from the poor. With a democratic congress we will be able to finally give the people of America what we want,Freedom from stupidity and unamerican attitudes about the people of this country.
          It will also bring about the end of the “morons” radical destruction of the country and the complete mismanagement of the government.

  • GetAClueBucko

    Elections have consequences. Yes, I say it a lot, but with a sincere sense of urgency in these times of this oppressive GOP coup.

  • Jeff Brown

    Congress now must get off their asses and move. They put cannabis in schedule I (the most dangerous substances with no medical use) the people and states know this is bs. Congress needs to fulfill the will of the people and states and remove it from schedule I / if they deschedule it completely it should make it legal nationwide.

  • Jeff Brown

    Cannabis is the most useful plant on the planet; food, clothing, shelter, energy, medicine, insight, re-creation. It has been mankinds companion and helpmate since the beginning. Any law against it is a crime against humanity, creation and the Creator.

  • Legalize420

    The SAD reality here is that this shows that States rights matter ONLY when the feds can benefit.
    In the early 1900s states used the same actions to criminalize cannabis use based on lies and Prejudice and fear.
    NOW Sessions is showing the truth. He and them only care about states rights when it suits their needs. States had a right to ban it, we have the right to unban it as well. Democracy is not a One Way street though Sessions thinks this way.

    We need to pray and urge congress to keep Rohenbacher-Blumenhauer amendment as that runs out this month and that’s one of the few protections left.

    NOW is the time to speak up and defend yourself and others as this is just a war on sick people mostly. Very sickening. These clowns won’t see a second term

  • CJ

    While I don’t agree with the outcome, Sessions made the right move. You don’t just ignore federal law as the federal DOJ. I hope this gets the congress to do their job and change the legal status of cannabis IN FEDERAL LAW. It should not be left up to some quasi legal memo to do what should be done by the people we elect to make law. Politicians love the cover of some garbage like the Cole memo so they don’t have to make the hard choices. At least Sessions has the balls to make the hard choice.

  • patriot156

    They need to if these Senators feel this way remove it from the Schedule one list then. OR Molon labe!

  • David Jay

    This may be a great boost to legalization efforts. When an individual who has shown his racism and personal animosity towards the will of the people, it is time for them to STEP DOWN.

  • Lancaster2020

    Gilibrand is spot on- the DOJ is saying something similar to “The earth is flat and the sun goes around the earth” to side with big pharma … Here again: Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator for New York:
    “Attorney General Sessions’ decision to restrict states’ ability to legalize and decriminalize marijuana is either willfully ignorant of the medical science or an act of greed on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. In either case, it’s an attack on patients, and it’s wrong.”

  • Mike Welch

    Give the Elf a cookie, everything will be ok..

  • Concerned Canadian

    The GRINCH LIVES! Am a Canadian and find the Attorney General is off his rocker. Do not understand that someone so ignorant can hold office of the Attorney General. Talk about a waste of money and time Jeff Sessions appears to be wanting to push the U.S. forward for more debt. “What level of hatred and mistrust will the feds create between the American people and the federal government before they lose anyway?”

  • Lee red

    This Dude is a MoRon and don’t think for minute he don’t have Trumps ear…he needs to be gone and if he isn’t “we the people” need to really exercise our REAL voting power.
    Next election it could be the Burns Turn, how bad could that be personally I’d like to see a backup, less wages, less cost of living, less money breaks for the filthy rich. We need a great country to live in that doesn’t cost a fortune to get by on. The well off are use to paying tons for life and don’t care the needy just want to live comfortably.
    If you want to get more, pay more, have more….move to China…or should I say “Ghina” sorry just being truthful.
    Let’s really make America Great Again not take a step back….what the heck man!

  • Patmom

    He is trampling on states’ rights with an evil obsession. And this isn’t the first time the will of the voters has been ignored or overturned and, most likely, not the last.

  • john gulli

    AG Sessions ignorance and refusal to acknowledge the benefits of marijuana just shows that he is in the wrong position, and we know who appointed him!
    Instead of focusing on a much more serious epidemic in our country, opioids, he has made it his vendetta to attack not only our states voting rights, but the good people who benefit from the medicinal effects that marijuana has on epilepsy, PTSD and on.
    Congress and the Senate need to join forces to put pressure on Trump to fire Sessions, and send the ignorant red neck back to Alabama, where he belongs!

  • Larry342516

    “Politicians Outraged”? What this means is that they are upset that now they have no one to put the blame on. If they would get off their butts and change the Law we could be done with this non-sense. Politicians are not leaders any more, and will not step up and do their jobs. They no longer do the will of the people that voted them into office. Actually Sessions passed the buck back to them, and its either change the law or don’t. Why should Sessions be the fall guy for a bunch of lazy Politicians? Do your job Washington, and change the Law for the people.

  • jerry withers

    Jeff Sessions is about as ignorant on the medical marijuana issues as they come WTF happened to STATES RIGHTS !

  • Mary Smith

    Sessions has been on a hot rock ever since he was made AG. He had said that marijuana was addicting, now
    he’s only thinking of his views and what he thinks, get rid of him and get someone in that position who help the states.
    More and more states are passing the cannabis access. Too late for McCarthyism….show him to the door!!

  • 360dunk

    Only a blithering idiot would lean on the cannabis industry as it brings in much-needed tax revenue for cash-strapped municipalities in today’s economic climate. People are still going to smoke the plant….it’s not going away, ever. So do you want local government to benefit or do you want the masses to return to black market buying and watch cartels benefit?

    Jeff Sessions, are you smart or are you another blithering idiot? The world is watching.

  • 360dunk

    Trump…..either put a leash and muzzle on this fool or risk being humiliated in the next presidential election. No fence straddling middle-of-the-road voter will forget or forgive you for letting Sessions trample American freedoms.

  • Boogie

    This is irony at its best! “POLITICIANS OUTRAGED!” “Sessions Move Tramples The Will of the Voters!”
    Excuse me, but isn’t this exactly what all of the corrupt, bought and paid for public faces have been doing ever since Trump was elected “BY THE WILL OF THE VOTERS?” Impeachment? Dossiers? RussiaGate? Antifa? Hello? Have they looked in the mirror?
    Talk about hypocrisy!!!
    The river in Egypt isn’t long enough for the all the denial these knee-jerk, brain-dead, hive minded wannabe’s have put on the front page of the world in their display of unity! doh! If this isn’t the pot calling the kettle black………….

  • James crow

    I will not vote for or support any one who is opposed to cannabis which is a law to control people not drugs (which it has failed to the point of pain). Jeff Sessions (house elf) is a dog on a bone and must be removed from office, he is incompetent and the people have turned against him. We will remember those who used a law to control blacks, Mexicans and war descendants. The law against cannabis is a lie, they lied to us all and now it must end, we will not lay down or stop until this is put right, nuff said.

  • Jimbolovey

    The garden gnome (sessions) does not have an original thought in his tiny little brain. Hell he is using nancy reagans thought on pot. Just say no. Old fart.

  • james carrington

    blame trump, the evil liar