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State Leaders Respond to Sessions’ Criticism of Legal Cannabis

August 7, 2017
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pauses as he answers questions during his interview with the Associated Press at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador, Thursday, July 27, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired a warning shot at state-legal cannabis last week. In separate letters sent to leaders in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, he raised what he called “serious questions” about the states’ cannabis laws. Now some state officials are shooting back.

“Honestly, it’s hard to take him seriously if he relies on such outdated information,” Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson told the Seattle Times in response to Sessions’ criticism. “Do your homework, get good information.”


Sessions Attacks Washington’s Cannabis Laws in Letter to Governor

In the letters, which have been criticized by cannabis reform advocates as misleading and designed to overstate the flaws in state cannabis programs, Sessions claims that the laws have been inadequately enforced, enabling minors to access cannabis and allowing diversion of legal cannabis into other states as well as the illegal market.

In a statement, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he’s “incredibly proud of the work we’ve done to implement legalization in a way that keeps youths safe, minimizes diversion into the black market, and minimizes diversion out of our state.”


The Haymaker: Why Is Jeff Sessions Hiding His Task Force?

“It is clear that our goals regarding health and safety are in step with the goals Attorney General Sessions has articulated,” Inslee continued. “Unfortunately he is referring to incomplete and unreliable data that does not provide the most accurate snapshot of our efforts since the marketplace opened in 2014.”

Sessions’ letters to the adult-use cannabis states rely on information from High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) reports. The HIDTA program, created in the late 1980s, exists to “reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States.”


In Rebuke to Sessions, Senate Committee OKs Medical Marijuana Protections

In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper said his office takes Sessions’ concerns seriously. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the Attorney General and arrive at the most effective approach to the states and the federal government working together to protect public health, public safety and other law enforcement interests,” a spokesperson told The  Denver Channel. “We take the concerns shared in the letter seriously and will provide a comprehensive response.”

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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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  • mf2112

    Hopefully the Ku Klux Keebler will keep trying and pissing off more people in the process.

    • j James

      Demokkkrats aren’t the only ones pissed.

  • Dajapetto

    Someone get this man a special brownie! And Chris Christie 4 or 5 of them too! Between Session and Christie, these two grumpy old men need it more than we do. Bet their minds will change. So will their appetite! Well…. Maybe not Chris Christie… He likes to eat his subway sandmich on a deserted beach that he closed just for his family!

    • lovingc

      The earl of Sandwich would take umbrage at your spelling of his name!

      • Dajapetto

        Lol he best take it up with the spell checkers of Verizon! Then again he might try to shut that down too!! Lol

        • lovingc


          • Dajapetto

            Chris Cristie and his sandmich while Jeff Sessions is lickin winders on the short bus drivin by, our beloved former governor of IN because Donnie Trump prefers NOT to drive but wants to be the backseat driver!!

      • Robert Gerus

        His real name is shit head

    • Clay Volz

      Dose them!

    • I peed myself. All True

  • Cog

    Sessions bring his well practiced hate to a new community

    • j James

      Says the hater

      • Sandy Fields

        j James, why did you call Cog a hater? Are you for withholding medicine from someone it may help? There are a lot of people in the scientific community that confirm it is more helpful than harmful.

      • Cog

        Yup I hate the KKK. You recruiting?

        • j James

          Lol. On what basis do you think I am a demokkkrat?😐

  • C Wayne Sheffield


    • lovingc

      Wouldn’t affect Trump, except in his bottom line, he doesn’t drink.

      • hyjyljyj

        Lame. If all he cared about was his “bottom line”, he would have just kept working his companies instead of resigning from hundreds of them and taking on the world’s hardest job—for no pay. Does that make sense?

        Again: lame.

        • lovingc

          You need to read the news Trump did not resign from anything. He is still scamming the government for money illegaly.

          • j James

            Illegally… Spell check works.

    • Nick Couture

      The fact trump appointed him is proof trump lied for votes

      • Peter Rabbitt

        Trump lied so many times!

      • Excuse me

        No, it is proof that people have various foci and agendas in the complex and sometimes conflicting world of politics. As a candidate, Trump promised many things that he will have a tough time delivering on, just as Obama did.

        • Sandy Fields

          The good o’l Senate made sure Obama couldn’t get anything done and now they are making sure Trump can’t get what he wants either. This time, it’s not a racist tactic. It’s an “oh sh*t” reaction. Their butts are on the line now with the mid terms coming up. The Trump base is shrinking daily. The voting Republicans are finally starting to wake up too. Trump isn’t what they thought he was and to the rest, he is exactly what they knew he was. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$nake.

          • j James

            Market and employment numbers are great. Isis is on the run. I guess the ebt card benefits have been cut a little for you?:(

          • Sandy Fields

            What are you implying with out any knowledge? ebt card? You can be an A$$, but I do agree with some of your arguments. I just don’t like the way our government is being run. Why are you ASSuming so much with out being educated on any facts other than a comment by a stranger online? Oh, must be spouting at the mouth again. At least I try to leave a pretty mark (flowers), you hide behind a clown mask. Sure don’t know why your are attacking me, other than, your are 1) a Republican – so what, dose it really matter??? 2) you support Donald Trump. Again, so what???? 3) you are a racist. or…….4) you are a senator up for re-election!!!!

          • j James

            My apologies. I was an ass here for that comment. Again, my apologies. Leavings it up to atone.

          • Majik53

            Oooh, the $15 I get every month is going to crash the economy…. Dick.

    • lovingc

      Quit shouting!

    • Sandy Fields

      Ouch, my eyes hurt from all that shouting! Can’t even read it – all capital typing is the worst.

  • j James

    CNN…lol. hahaha. Needed that. Thanks!

    • horsemannv

      Don’t shoot the messenger James. All that this report states is true and well documented.

      • j James

        Lol. CNN😁😀😁

  • j James

    Geesh. Ree the F lax. No one’s taking our pot. These are warning shots fired over the bow so the DEA and other inane agencies can feel better.
    So liberals, who love big government so much? Why not try voting independent or libertarian? Then you’ll see no DEA, a smaller CIA, FBI and other agencies that waste time and money perpetuating old fears.

    • lovingc

      Bull manure all of that crap came from the republicans.

      • j James

        Big government came from Republicans? Lol. Two words idiot, New Deal, or three, your racist LBJ had War on Poverty.

        Lol. Twit

        • Lonerwithaboner420

          Pretty sure the Republicans are the ones trying to tell us what we can and can’t do with our own bodies. Be it pot, sex, abortion, etc. If that’s not big government I don’t know what is.

        • Robert Parris

          Yeah, big government comes from the Repubs, just not in the form of social programs or financial regulations. They come in the form of “moral high ground laws”, i.e. abortion restrictions, marijuana restrictions, religious favoritism, civil rights like LGBTQ protections, etc. They CANNOT call themselves champions of small government while infringing on the liberties of the greater public, especially when public opinions are so lopsidedly opposed to their actions. Please keep citing the New Deal and the War on Poverty… Things that were put in motion literally decades ago!!

    • randolini

      That doesn’t work. I have voted Libertarian since Nixon and things are worse than ever. As long as Wall Street continues to control the right and left, our fascist government will continue to steal from the poor and pass it to their rich puppetmasters.

  • lovingc

    Take a hint Jeffy your ideas and idiocy don’t match with the bulk of the American people. So go in your own back yard and jack off. Stay out of every one else’s business.

  • Dajapetto

    And to also add to this… old man Sessions still lives off of old-school values. And this is the problem today. New data has come about with the positive outcome of legalized marijuana which can easily be googled (if he even knows how to Google), tax revenue is up in legal states and crime rate, alcoholism, and opioid addiction are at their all time low. He knows this, but his literature that he’s been studying on since Vietnam says otherwise! And if that’s not enough there’s new and much stronger prescription pain killers out there that was voted down by correspondents of the FDA that is now on the market because the officials whom makes the final decisions to go ahead and approve it! I think they want us to be addicts and die off quicker with little to no healthcare to treat our physical and mental illnesses!.

    • Excuse me

      If politicians paid attention to history and facts, there would be the awareness that attempts at installing communism as an economic system killed 100 million people in the 20th Century, and further attempts might give similar results.

  • Rick Sizemore


  • Pheo Smith

    Trump about to Shut That Shit Down, sessions needs to go,that’s what keeping marijuana a crime,the old farts

  • Pheo Smith

    Legalize Louisiana Please

  • hyjyljyj

    It isn’t about health and safety. If it were, then they would be pushing to outlaw alcohol and tobacco, which kill millions of people annually and sicken millions more. Cannabis helps get sick people well and has never killed one person.

    It’s only ever been about money and influence. Health has absolutely nothing to do with prohibition.

  • Steven J. Brock IV

    There are more pressing issue’s than MJ,better focus on N.Korea and leave us people alone,we know what we want and need,it is us that puts politicians in office,and we can take them out too,and to Mr.Trump make America great again and leave us alone,create jobs and stop Sessions,and make the dea reclassify MARIJUANA,we will smoke it,eat it,vapor it or whatever we want to do,and get off of this Opiate non-sense,it is hard enough to stop Chronic Pain already,Drs. are scare to write anything anymore.and personally I do not think we will ever be Great again,,,

  • Radek Bedic

    July 01-2018. Legalization and decriminalization at the FEDERAL LEVEL of all cannabis products will begin in CANADA. Not at state level or as Canadians would say provincial level but at the FEDERAL level, meaning all-of-Canada. Doesn’t matter what this fossil(Sessions) of a by-gone era is doing now with the cannabis laws in the states. Americans will go by the drones to Canada to get high LEGALLY; Canada will be the Amsterdam of the west. Too bad because America could have been that already if the didn’t fuss around with Cannabis laws at the state level. Where USA could have been an industry leader, they will now follow like sheep behind the leaders. Opportunity missed.

    • horsemannv

      Yah, sure, like that is going to happen??? I am going to drive from Alabama or Nebraska all the way to Canada two or three times a year to get my pot, break the law by importing it back into the United States facing prison time for doing so and then transport it back to my home, again breaking the law for possession and use, again going to jail. Then I have to hire a lawyer, go through a trial and hope that the court has mercy upon me because this is the first time I have been caught. Are you high dude? Your suggestion is ludicrous.

      • Radek Bedic

        Well maybe not where your from, but last time I checked a huge chunk of the US population live with 60 miles of the candiens border. Is 60 miles to far to drive? And yes you are high or simple if you were thinking of buying it up there and then coming back to the state. Just saying.

  • Alan Warrick

    Jeff would do better to deal with opiods, cartels, Mueller, terrorism and impeachment than to worry about legal tax paying weed. What about the 10th Amendement?

    • Steven J. Brock IV


  • Steven J. Brock IV

    To me there is problem with legalizing state by state, do it all across AMERICA,that way there will be no problems period and everyone can benefit from MJ and MMJ,

  • J Davis

    Trump has already flip-flopped on at least 20 different things he “said” he was going to do and what he now says. Sessions won’t rest until he burns all the pot or jails all the users, period. Sessions is just as dangerous, if not more, than Trump. He has already said he’s going after pot and he means it. He is currently working on building more for-profit prisons just for this purpose. They have already rolled back Obama’s non-violent drug penalty legislation, so that just mere “possession” will get you 20 years. Now that he’s AG, there is not much that can stop him. Until it is reclassified we need to be vigilant. Any day, he could send U.S. Marshals, or DEA agents to forcibly close dispensaries and arrest people…we so far are lucky that Congress has not given him the funds he has asked for to do this. Stay tuned.

    • horsemannv

      Trump is a serial liar and a megalomaniac. He should be found incapable of rational thought and unable to perform the duties of his office. But that would take both Democratic and Republican action to do and that isn’t going to happen with our current “Pay to Play” form of government service.

    • Steven J. Brock IV

      The so called War on Drugs failed terribly,the Gov’mt could not win the WOD’s so they are using it to fight the war on TERROR,

  • Kris Mccleery

    That racist little elf and the entire administration is a complete joke. A very, very bad joke, but a joke none the less…

  • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

    For one thing if it’s being sold to minors with out parents approved and or dr prescription then it’s on the person who sold it to the minor to begin with!!!!!

    • Jeff Kurvink

      Like with booze

      • j James

        Booze is Worst of them all!!

        • truth

        • Amen brother !!

        • Chaddy Liquor Tits

          Says the drunk

          • j James

            Really? Troll lol.

          • j James

            History for you. Watched 2 people close to me die because of booze. One only 2 years ago. Fought the good fight against it, couldn’t get the demons casted out of him. Was a war vet who lived through hell and booze didn’t help. So yeah, I know how bad booze is. As for the other person, your not worth my time. Crip lol. Yeah, right.

  • Stephen Buckley

    91 people with overdose on opioids by the end of the day. I wonder if AG Sessions wrote stern letters to Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Eli Lily…….. about over producing narcotics? Probably not…… he’s got a marijuana crisis to deal with…..

    Go after Big Pharma Mr. Sessions you useless POS! Weed isn’t hurting anyone. Quit if you haven’t got the testicles to do the job.

    this hypocrisy is what makes so many youth willing to fall behind a Pied Piper like Bernie. Trump’s bad AG

    • 100% agree. Well said

    • Thomy

      With over 30% of his money going into stocks that involve the pharmaceutical industry, the last thing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will do is go after Big Pharma. Understand that part of the problems is the amount of opioids doctors are prescribing but they’re not really at fault and can’t legally be held responsible because they are following legal results and recommendations when it comes to dosages etc. An intensive study was done by the U.S. government, too long ago, that determined the adequate dosages and the amount a pills, a given patient should have for a certain problems, often involving both acute and chronic pain and that, in my opinion, is outdated and inadequate but it’s also far out of Jeff Sessions jurisdiction, other than voicing his opinion, which can be ridiculously loud at times. In other words, he’s not going to go after a business he partially owns or has great financial interests in. The GOP also gets a huge amount of their campaign funds from Big Pharma, so why would they spite the hand that feeds them ? They won’t, simple as that… Stephen Buckley makes a good point and one would think that what Stephen says would be totally legitimate but I wanted to add a bit of clarification, so everyone understands better, what is likely the real truth behind it all. While we all know there is an epidemic in the U.S. when it comes to opioid addiction, our true focus here is on Cannabis and that’s what we need to keep our focus on and I do see the relationship Stephen is trying to point out. Jeff Sessions wants a huge piece of the pie and he’s a politician on top of it, so it’s actually common for them to sort of quote old and totally outdated and unreliable sources that would greatly stimulate public belief that Cannabis is much more dangerous than it actually is. He’s literally hoping to gather support from people who are ignorant or “of his generation” and those that don’t know much about the whole thing, other than the draconian aspects that were reaped upon them over the last 7.5 decades and he’s getting some support from that. Not only is Jeff Sessions a very stubborn old man, he’s also too old for the job he’s trying to perform. As far as I’m concerned, Chris Christie is a lunatic and the worst example of a state governor we’ve ever had in U.S. history…… Trump is responsible for appointing both Jeff Sessions and Chris Christie and knew their position on Cannabis long before he appointed them as well. We still need to keep moving forward and add additional states to the legalized recreational structure but we’re sort of in Purgatory, when it comes to legalizing at the federal level and it looks like we’ll remain there until the vast majority of the states legalize recreational Cannabis or these 3 men Trump, Sessions and Christie are removed either by vote or total impeachment. In order for Sessions to actually crackdown, he’ll have to immobilize the military because it clearly looks like he’ll receive no support of any state level law enforcement in legalized states or he’ll have to borrow and deputize from other states’ law enforcement agencies which are not too keen in getting involved. The military has already voiced its opinion and is definitely against being deployed against its own people so we’re not the only ones stuck in Purgatory, so is Jeff Sessions and Chris Christie when it comes to enforcing federal law on states that have legalized recreational or medical Cannabis already in effect. Mid term elections are coming up and I urge everyone 18 years of age or older to GO VOTE at all elections that directly involve both the legalization of Cannabis and the general election as well. Don’t sit back and rely upon experimental polls and decide not to vote because they indicate we’re going to win because we all know what happened with the presidential election. People became complacent that Trump didn’t stand a chance and they slept right through the election. Our man for president, as far as Cannabis is concerned, was clearly Bernie Sanders and I guarantee you, if he was president now, not only would our country be in better shape and we’d have way less turmoil coming from the Whitehouse but it’s almost 100% certain, one of the very first things Bernie Sanders would’ve done is either reschedule Cannabis or deschedule it. So if you’re pissed that you have a president, an AG and an appointed idiot working on the opioid crisis in America, for those that didn’t vote, go look in the mirror and blame that person because it is “your fault” for not voting, simple as that and now were stuck with what we got until we either find a legal way to impeach or we vote them out. Even Hillary Clinton was willing to move on and allow those states that want to legalize or have already legalized to move on…….. GO VOTE !!

      • j James

        And the DNC doesn’t get big money from the Pharma or any others. Different parties same pile of shït.

      • j James

        By the way, the military, like the CIA, can not do any actions within the US. Unless there is martial law. And I really don’t want to go into the minutiae of details that encumbers any politician to declare it.

        • Brad

          Keep thinking that, Waco, Ruby Ridge, any of those sound familiar? They can pull military and use them on citizens and do, every day!

          • j James

            True. You are right. Never forget those travesties. All under Reno, a demokkkrat DOJ

      • Steven J. Brock IV

        A few years ago the DEA set quotas on how many pills a Pharmacy could have and it hurt a lot of people,me as one,they got so many at the first of every month,and when they were gone that was it,and if you got a script say on the 25th, you had to wait til they got theirs in on the first,not right,so pharmacies took care of their regular customers,all in the name of Diversion what a crock,and the OD’s came from cheap Heroin not pharmaceuticals the way they put it,and it hurt older people as well,they can never stop it just as they can’t stop MJ or MMJ,so Drs, are scared to write hardly anything,even when you have documentation or a MRI showing how bad you are,it sucks balls,now they are trying to say CBD and MMJ with take care of pain,not so only minor pain,for me to have any quality I have to have Pain Meds,and gotta be under lock and key,it is pathetic,the ones that don’t need them hurt us that do,but like everything else the DEA just blankets everyone,the main problem is I may need say 5 a day where others may need 3 depends on what is wrong but it is hard to deal with intractable pain,and I have gone w/o only to end up in withdrawals,not fun at all,emergency room won’t help either,there has to be a better way.CBD does help along with Opiates,now they do have guidelines to follow but not the gospel,everyone is different,

        • Steven J. Brock IV

          So to be clear I have had 2 failed back surgeries,3knee surgeries,Hip sur, have Osteoarthritis,Fibromyalgia,and Sjogrens Syndrome,like Lupus,body feels like it has the flu all the time,10 years of this BS,,

        • Robert Kirkland

          The pain Clinic decided that I shouldn’t have Pain Pills after taking for 17 years without any problems. Put me on a “Dangerous Fentanyl Patch” I feel terrible and almost died from this shit!

  • Kiel McWhirter

    Its not what drugs youre on, its whos. Forget where I heard this, but it’s as true as ever.

    • cactusjim420

      That’s genius, hope you remember where you heard it, it needs quoting

  • Leroy Mosley

    Jeff let’s smoke one and see if you can deal with it. Lol We all know you smoke weed but you don’t want that out in public .Instead you want to be Trump’s lap bitch.

  • Izzat So

    Sessions formed his opinion from reefer madness information, and once burned into his brain, nothing else can enter. I think he really believes his view of marijuana is legally, morally, religiously, physically and culturally correct. No other facts apply. This dinosaur will plow on down the track, until overwhelming national resistance derails him into the dustbin of history. Don’t expect him to change, or “wise up”. He is what he is, and the really sad part of the story is that he is our Attorney General.

  • Robert Brumley

    Legalization of cannabis should be up to the individual states and not the federal government. I don’t agree so much for legalization of recreational use, but if they do ban it for recreational use, this is where illegal use will definitely come into place and keep the cartels busy smuggling it across the border and the states and local government won’t get their taxes. As far as medical cannabis goes “stay the hell away from it Sessions and let it be. People need this where the big Pharma junk does not work but just kills people.

  • Gonna CTCBOT

    Is it me or does Sessions remind anyone of James G. Watt.

  • John Pack

    If you are in office for the people aren’t you supposed to work for the people not against them?

  • Sandy Fields

    The troll that once lived under the bridge has proven he lives under a rock instead. He should come out for air once in a while. It might clear the cobwebs from his tiny little viewpoint. Such a sorry state that one person has the power to take away medicine from ill people just because HE doesn’t like it. Pathetic really. Next election – MID TERMS, choose wisely.

  • Mark Skinner

    Yeah, he sent out some letters…..but surely they couldn’t have been read in that whiny sniveling accent of his !

  • swamp boy

    This is how far we have come since 1960 till today. nowhere, we have a stubborn old man in charge of what should be free choice if you want to drink go ahead if you want to smoke go ahead but if you want to smoke or use medical marijuana the government will lock you up. NICE COUNTRY,and you want us to do something for you like protect it Go F YUORSELF

  • Guitarzan

    I knew President Trump made a bid mistake in appointing Sessions. If he want’s a fair chance to get re-elected or the Repukes in general want to get re-elected they better get on board the cannabis train…

  • LanceJZ

    Yet he cares not about children drinking alcohol, the most abused substance in the US.

  • cash5

    Sessons is an idiot! Let him get cancer and see what he does

  • Robert Gerus

    Sessions is a moron he doesn’t know shit about marijuana, so don’t knock it till you try it, you stupid little rat go nibble on some cheese and leave ordinary people alone. What an asshole. Thinks like Ronald Reagan there’s a war on drugs you know. The only war on drugs is in your mind. What a stupid stupid stupid person.

  • Tonya Masters

    I have no evidence but the way Sessions acts is like he got slapped around a lot during recess all through his grade school years, continusly picked on and beat up daily though high school. Didn’t have any friends, didn’t protisapate in sports, and only allowed to play hopscotch with the girls. Still cuts the crust off of his peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Wears his Moms thigh high fishnet stockings and heels around the house when no one is home. Insist on sucking his thumb while sleeping with his teddy bear his uncle stole from a carnival when he was 14 years old.

  • Steven J. Brock IV

    Is Sessions even Anthropomorphic,lol

  • OV
  • Linda Vee Sado

    I wonder if he drinks liquor? If so he’s a total hypocrite. He makes all conservatives look bad. My conservatives friends including me are all pro marijuana

  • Gregory P Kampwirth

    It’s HIGH time that we stoners rallied against Sessions once and for all, b/c these f*ckin’ politicians will do anything they want if not challenged by the majority!! So c’mon ppl, let’s use what little power we do have and nip this in the BUD!!!!

    • Steven J. Brock IV

      I’m with ya,,,

  • lovingc

    Jeffy needs to send one to the Chinese as well. They are pumping out fentanyl like it was something good. A product that kills your customers is not a good product!

  • lovingc

    Unfortunately this user could not be blocked; you have reached the limit for number of users blocked. For life or what. How many are too many I have yet to see anything that even tells me this is possible.

  • disqus_o6FRcSadnn

    I could almost bet that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions lll was so picked on in school that it changed his neural mapping and all he can think about is hate and how to hate. People like this little guy will continue to hate and try until he is no more to (in his mind) get back at all who has ever hurt him and he feels by ridding all of society of that which most of society wants then he can kill all who ever hurt him with just his words. That my friends is known as Functional Mental Illness. Many of the most brilliant minds down through history were also the most Diseased Minds as well. Look at Ted Bundy he was on his way to becoming an brilliant attorney. After sentencing Bundy,the judge made a statement to Ted saying he(the judge) would have liked seeing Ted practicing law in his Court Room and that he believed Ted would have been a great attorney but he chose to take the other path. History is loaded with Crazy Ass Powerful Politicians!!!

  • DCBC

    I think having a government like this is what starts a kid smoking pot!