Pennsylvania Governor to AG Sessions: Back Off!

In a recent letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wrote a pointed letter regarding the Department of Justice and it’s posturing to implement a crackdown of lawful state medical marijuana programs.

The full letter:

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

Last year, the Pennsylvania passed bipartisan legislation to legalize Medical Marijuana that I was proud to sign into law. The legislation was the result of conversations with Republicans and Democrats and fierce advocacy from families of children who were stricken with terrible illness that could be helped by Medical Marijuana.

We talked to kids who suffer dozens of seizures in a given day. We met veterans who have seen absolute terror and seek relief from the effects of their post-traumatic stress. We approached the responsibility of providing relief to the people of Pennsylvania very thoughtfully.

Since I signed the legislation, we have taken very careful and deliberate steps to implement the law so that those who are suffering can get relief while ensuring that the state is a responsible steward of the program.

Given the bipartisan and medical consensus for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania and many other states, I am disturbed to know that you are actively pursuing a change in federal law to go after medical marijuana suppliers.

We do not need the federal government getting in the way of Pennsylvania’s right to deliver them relief through our new medical marijuana program.

Your action to undo the protections of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use federal funds to disrupt states’ efforts to implement “their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana” is misguided.

If you seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty.


Governor Tom Wolf

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Photo by Gage Skidmore
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Photo by Gage Skidmore

This comes in response to a recently revealed private letter that Jeff Sessions sent to Congressional leadership requesting that the DOJ be permitted to target and prosecute state-licensed medical cannabis facilities, currently prohibited by a spending rider known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote, “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Jeff Sessions actually seems to believe that lawful medical marijuana patients, i.e. sick people, are causing the violent crime and contributing to transnational drug trafficking.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was questioned about federal marijuana policy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week and he brought up current DOJ policy and left the door wide open to a potential crackdown.

“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…”

The Cole Memo, is a Justice Department memorandum, authored by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, Wolf and other state politicians are taking action. Recently, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo.

“Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

Click here to send a message to your member of Congress to urge them to force the Department of Justice to respect state marijuana laws and then visit to support other efforts in your state and federally.

PA resident? Click here to send a message to your state lawmakers to support the effort to decriminalize marijuana in the Keystone State.

42 thoughts

  1. Just because you’re in the position you’re in doesn’t give you the right to mess things up. Leave everything about marijuana alone. Go & study alcohol, now alcohol kills, marijuana hasn’t, doesn’t!!!!!!!!!

    1. I agree. Alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana. Hands off Sessions. You’re not the bossame. Thiysed to be a republic not a dictatorship run out of the Justice Dept.

  2. Good work Governor. Now its our turn to do ours. Click on the Act tab, contact your state and federal representatives, then call and meet with them to reform marijuana laws.

    And states? Sue this administration back under the rock they crawled out of.

  3. Jeff sessions is as corrupt as the day is long; nobodys that ignorant, naturally or purposfully.

      1. Really? Margo really? Are you in high school?
        Sometimes e buttons do not work. E button type O’s may not always be signs of ignorance. Is that what you are scared of? Being shown up because your W button doesn’t work? Come on Margo really?

      2. @ Margo Rox,
        I misspell frequently, too, but I don’t need win a spelling bee to know that Jefferson Peckerwood Sessions is as corrupt as the day is long! He surely is an ignorant sum-bitch!

      3. Jeffereson Beauregard Sessions… (spell that twice)… is an Ignint corrupt-@$$ sum-bitch!

  4. For the last 36years of my 44 year criminal law practice, I have focused on the developing programs and strategies for assisting clients in successfully ending their drug addiction and alcohol abuse. I give State Bar supported lectures to lawyers on the elements of addiction and the characteristics of successful programs for long term rehabilitation. I am regarded as an expert in the area of
    Successfully assisting addicts and alcoholics getting clean and sober. I am completely familiar with the current and escalating drug abuse epidemic often resulting in criminal activity to support it, as well as the significant increase in overdose and suicide which is often the end game. I am not a fan of drugs, which includes Marijuana.
    I have a sister who is currently suffering from Stage 4 cancer. I was present when I heard her companionate, treating physician suggest to her that she use medically prescribed marijuana. Her first reaction was to refuse the suggestion as she “…didn’t want to die a drug addict!” The Doctor responded by telling her there were two significant benefits to use marijuana as part of her medical regimen: it would help with her inability to sleep, and it would increase her diminished appetite. Indeed, it accomplished both of these objectives, and my sister has yet to do a bank robbery! Clearly, medical marijuana is an asset for those suffering significant, documented medical illnesses. It is clear that the five Governors have done significant investigation in determining the need, and a controlled way in making this medicine available with oversight for those who qualify. Please support their respective decisions, which were developed with compassion, not misguided thinking…

    1. Amen. Thank you for this.
      I have been around Marijuana since I was a kid and have enjoyed it for many years off and on. In my experiences, Marijuana is like a glass of wine. Don’t drink and go out driving around. Same thing for Marijuana. Enjoy it responsibly and it is harmless and beneficial.
      There are those who have addiction issues with Marijuana. I have been to N.A. meetings and listened to an addict discuss their Marijuana addiction. They feel they cannot function without it. From what I have seen, it can be mildly addictive to the right kind of person; maybe similar to someone who can’t stop smoking cigarettes.
      At the same time, Marijuana is helpful if used responsibly and/or medically. For those who may like it a bit too much and develop a habit; these people have an “addictive personality” in my experience. If it wasn’t Marijuana, it would be something else.
      All this being said, keep the fight going. We need to be free to use this beneficial medicine as we see fit.

      1. @Scott, you’re close, now for the cigar: “The right kind of person… similar to someone who can’t stop smoking cigarettes” is someone who has been programmed (by a trillion dollars worth of $igarette advertising) to consume their marijuana in $igarette (oops, sorry, Joint) format. 500-mg-per-lightup hot burning overdose monoxide paperpuffin’ (HBOMP). The monoxide and 4221 Combustion toxins co-create the “addictive personality” prohibbers blame on cannabis.
        Remedy? SUBSTITUTE 25-mg MICRODOSE vapetokes with a flexdrawtube oneheater* for the massively advertised puffpapers.
        (And if tobacckgo addicts imitate, leading to sharp reduction in 6,000,000 yearly deathtroll, NORML WILL WIN a $1.5-mil. KNOWITWELL PRIZE to use lobbying for criminal-record expungement, career liberation and asset forfeiture abolition.)

        *see free wiki article, “Make-Pipes-from-

    2. Though you have an opinion and it may be substantiated in your personel experience, in no way does your opinion or experience envelove the breath of cannabis experienced by all users. Your remark is unfairly a blanket statement. And I would wager there are far more people needing your assistance from their pharmaceutical opiate addictions, than users of cannabis alone. I am tired of people saying cannabis is a gate way drug, bullshit. People who progress to other drugs do so because cannabis doesn’t cut it for them, not because cannabis opened doors for them. Get on board, and stop sending out the lie. Not only is cannabis a natural medicinal product, it is also a great source of nutrient and immuneological benefits. This is a medicine everyone should be taking in minute daily ingested amounts for preventative means and good health.

      1. Patrick,

        You’re right about the gateway drugs. I believe alcohol and tobacco are at least as responsible if not more so.

  5. Using Session’s logic, we should also ban all pain medicines which contain opiates or any other type of narcotic ingredients. A few are percodan, Percocet, Tylenol with codeine, etc. Hospitals could not sedate for surgery. As you can see this nonsense could go stupid very quickly using Session’s logic. Good people don’t seek pain relief. What an idiot.

  6. As I understand it the Federal government is getting tax from some states where it is legal . If indeed they do receive tax dollars from it then are they complicit In a crime. Why is no one looking into charging the government under the RICO act.

  7. SUDDEN AMNESIA… Does Sessions telling Congress twenty-six times that he does not remember’ not count as lying? This AMNESIA is nothing more than perjury and he should be expelled from office. He is in contempt of Congress, the Senate, and the American people.This nation should not be required or forced to tolerate such disrespect and contempt for his high office.AG is no position for a crackpot clown. Perjury of this magnitude should not only remove him from office but place him in Federal prison for contempt of Congress.This greedy corporate puppet and ancient swamp creature has obviously become so senile that he is a danger to public office and the billionaires that placed him there.

    1. You’re right about his severe case of amnesia. He also committed perjury when he lied about his lack of contacts with the Russians. In a just world, that little Keebler elf would spend the next 20 years fending off his new roommate Bubba.

  8. I will have much more to say on this, soon. For now, let’s back up Gov. Wolf and ALL mail letters to Sessions to stop this madness. I, too, heard about his request for federal powers to, basically crack down, and I was horrified as well. It is a BAD thing for us, as it shows Sessions is starting to turn on legalization, medical, or otherwise. Like I said….he’s coming, folks. I think he also has some sort of deadline, a request for a report from states on legalization enforcement measures, at the end of NEXT MONTH, that is, July. I saw this story, that Sessions requested enforcement authority on medical…..guys and gals, I am sorry, again, to be SO negative, but this is bad…..Jeff Sessions is bad, bad, BAD. But gov. Wolf and others like the California governor Brown, give me faith. There WILL be a fight if Sessions cracks down. I watched a GREAT series last night on Viceland, my first time, Bong Appetit….educated, Persians…..cusine and infused, and it was awesome 😀 I would like that in MY state!.Queen of the South too….If Sessions cracks down, we are going to fight. For the FUTURE…for progress….we are going to resist, Mr. Sessions…..legalization is NOT GOING AWAY!

    1. I like that, that’s a really good name for him: Jefferson Peckerwood Sessions. It’s magnanimous, yet fitting.

    2. Sessions recently testified that he has served our country for 35 years. That is a matter of opinion. In my opinion he has served his own perverted interests at taxpayers expense for 35 years!

  9. I love how the AG states we are in the midst of a drug epidemic. Well the epidemic is the man made pharmacy opioids. Which easily kill people.
    Alcohol is way worse and how the F is alcohol not a sch 1 then ? Or tobacco?

    1. @ Chase,
      The drug that kills the most Americans per year is tobacco, and it isn’t even close. CDC estimates for annual deaths from alcohol: 88,000. CDC annual deaths from tobacco: 480,000. For reference, annual deaths from acetaminophen: 458. All other drugs kill far fewer people than tobacco.

      Annual deaths from cannabis? Zero.

      1. And for further reference: CDC data says deaths from opioid overdose in 2014 was: over 28,000.

      2. While you are correct opioid overdose does not get close to the consistent 450,000 annual deaths due to tobacco, there is a very recent alarming rise in ER overdose-overload due to synthetic prescription opioid abuse:

        Its hard to imagine or put into perspective how fast this is happening. But Americans are catching on that whole plant marijuana is part of the solution and Sessions is part of the problem.

  10. Cannabis is Schedule I based on the science of 1937 when it was first outlawed and its illegality perpetuated ever since.

    For Rod Rosenstein in 2017 to use the word science in his responses is completely laughable.

    I didn’t see anything about this legislation legalizing medical cannabis banking.

    I am hopeful that legalization will improve the wages of campesinos en Mexico so that they have better standards of living in exchange for premium Mexican sativa strains. A water pipeline network is one way to approach the water shortage and makes a ton of above ground jobs plus some.

    Legal Cannabis Banking!

    1. @ Oracle,

      Isn’t former President Vicente Fox a fascinating character to listen to? His passionate way of expressing himself and his firmly enlightened understanding of world and cultural history make for some insightful commentary. On the passionate side, he makes from-the-gut comments like “Mexico is not going to pay for that FUCKing WALL!”
      But even before he entertained us with that, he made some profound comments about prohibition and human nature; “God did not tell Eve, ‘Don’t eat the apple because it has worms in it and it will make you sick,’ God said don’t eat the apple because it is prohibited. And so she did.”
      I often reflect upon that statement when I challenge myself to review all of the drugs listed in schedule 1 of the CSA Act, or whatever our prescription patenting system has become on the FDA’s auction block for human souls…
      I ask myself if we patent or profit the basic components of life are we not prohibiting life from ourselves? That is true whether were talking about water rights, cannabinoid US patent 6630507, or the unregulated prohibition of any organic compound.

    2. As far as cannabanking, unfortunately we’re going to have to watch this dumpster fire burn out with Trump and Sessions first. Sessions may not have the taxpayer cash much less the cooperation to get the US Attorneys appointed for a huge crackdown, but his little RICO cases are putting the ice on some big bank investors. And some of those banks are implicit in keeping the NY Attorney General’s seat vacant. To bad billionaires like the Kochs, “decriminalization” means legalizing white collar crime, not marijuana policy.
      What I find hilarious is that no one wants to work for this administration. Who in their right mind would? Trump is throwing Sessions under the bus. He’s clearly delirious and doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing. Law firms won’t defend him because the dumb @$$ keeps tweeting confidential information that gets used in court! To top it off, the Secret Service had to change their drug policy because they couldn’t find anyone to take a bullet for this douche unless they have prior drug convictions. I don’t know what that says about the current failed state of our drug policy.
      In a roundabout way this anarchist delay tactic is useful: If US Attorney’s cant decide on firing the special counsel we could end up with the US v. Trump, which would be a great vindication that at least one branch… our courts of law… work and that’s where cartels need to legitimize their business and settle disputes. And by cartels I would include not only Mexican or Colombian cartels but the DOJ itself.

      Over the last several years I have been interpreting and helping undocumented Mexican immigrants to become residents, naturalize and vote. A question that always comes up in conversation is “when will this drug war end?” And I always answer “When people like you can vote and legalize drugs here in the US where the greatest demand for drugs and drug policies are made.”

  11. Jefferson Davis Bearegard Sessions III indeed! His name alone tells you something about this man. He has little to nothing in common with most of his fellow Americans. The man is a complete embarassment to our nation.

    The man is an outrageous anachronism (a foolish throwback to a less enlightened time) and I hope that our Republican Congress doesn’t allow him to have his way! I really hope that congressmen are smart enough to realize that Sessions evil desire to lockup his fellow Americans for cannabis use needs to end.

  12. Yeah. Right on. A pro-cannabis lobby group from the business side of things that lobbies at the national level, lobbies federal politicians.

    They need to advocate for legal cannabis banking. There is no need to differentiate between allowing legal cannabis banking for medical marijuana, yet still prohibit cannabis banking for adult recreational, because medical can come from the same outfit as recreational but just not be taxed at all or not taxed the same. It’s just too much of a bother to keep the financial transactions apart. How much of the cash deposits are medical legal from what of it they might be recreational? Yeah, well what of it? Do the feds even have all the personnel and resources to be policing constantly every financial cannabis transaction in the ever growing and snowballing cannabis market?

    What kind of legal action can Governor Wolf have PA AG Shapiro take against the feds? I thought Josh had already banded together with AGs from other states regarding cannabis.

  13. Jeff Sessions is only looking out for number one, himself. He figures he can place more money in his pocket, jailing people. He doesn’t care who’s lives he hurts, just as long as he gets more money in his pocket.

    Than others complain because these people have no jobs. Here’s a hint, STOP JAILING GOOD PEOPLE.

    I am a cannabis consumer, and I do NOT believe I should be placed in jail over cannabis. I am NOT a bad person.

    I am glad that our Governor is looking out for the people of PA.

  14. Me thinks only liberals comment on this site. The wolf in sheep’s clothing is as much a crook as many in DC. Remember Libs…..conservatives of PA voted Trump in!

    1. Hey Bev, now that you regurgitated your support of Sessions and prohibiting life saving whole plant cannabis from children suffering from epilepsy, veterans with PTSD or anyone suffering from chronic pain or a neurodegenerative disease, you have to explain to us;

      …how do you sleep at night?

      Do you plug into Infowars or Fox news with an IV and survive on pure hatred? If youre not a liberal, then what are you “conservative” of? Compassion? Shame? Self respect?
      Because where I come from allowing children to medicate on whole plant cannabis instead of watching families waste away on predatory prescription meds and private insurance is conservative… and an act of basic human dignity.

      You should try dignity out sometime.

      It might make you click on the Act tab and join our efforts to legalize marijuana instead of declaring only Liberals care if parents dont have to watch their children die from parasitic meds, cancer and epilepsy.

  15. In the history of the USA, the people were only heard once. During the prohibition, the mob was making a fortune while the Government didn’t have a chance at stopping what was happening. Politicians were afraid to vote since they risked political suicide.

    So, they actually did something right and very smart…they put the repeal of prohibition up for a vote by the people instead of risking their careers.

    It was the only time in history the the American people’s opinion counted. People are much smarter than politicians think. We see that power is of extreme importance to them. Just think of the power they could have if they listened to the people they are supposed to be representing, and as a result became powerful in a different way rather than making us all criminals because a minority thinks that way.

    According to the CDC, ALL DRUG DEATHS COMBINED (under 100,000 per year) are dwarfed by deaths by tobacco 480,000 per year, but the only thing happening on that front is a “DARE” type program to school kids.


    Our tax dollars pay their salaries, put it to a vote by the People, counted by the people and reported by the people. Then you will have a true democracy, and politicians won’t have to worry about re-election.

    Our government isn’t concerned about helping to save lives. If the or sugar would be banned. Tobacco would be banned, and pain patients wouldn’t be made to feel like a criminal because of a currently changed specification of opioid medications. Tylenol, is the highest reported poisoning according to the CDC, and yet when someone dies with an opioid in their system, does anyone check the Tylenol as a possible cause instead? I doubt it.

    Let the people of our once great nation vote and put an end to missed taxes going to other nations.

  16. Read the links in this March NORML blog:

    where I connect Sessions to Abbott Laboratories and the 75 million dollar settlement for depakote, a drug that killed children instead of stopping epileptic seizures… a tragedy legal marijuana can prevent. Abbott donated to then Senator Sessions heavily. Not only do these mass murderers like Insys Therapeutics stand to avoid lawsuits with an AG Sessions at their back, he can turn a blind eye while they pay kickbacks to Congressman and doctors to overprescribe their lethal synthetic opiates. The USAG should be prosecuting doctors and Congresman with offshore tax haven accounts that provide all kinds of lethal drugs from diabetes (Novo Nordisk, D-Debbie Washmoney Shultz) to the many Republicans like Sessions who have stakes in CVS Caremark that dont want to compete with a safe and effective whole plant cannabis market.

    We need to put partisan rhetoric aside and stop the Sessions-Trump night-train in its tracks. Lets click on the Act tab, call and visit our state and federal Congressman now and forever. And lets purchase state legalized marijuana to support the solution and vote with our dollar$.

  17. It’s great that individual states are holding their ground! Quite a few state level politicians & representatives have come forward to defend cannabis consumption in the last couple years. It’s really quite amazing considering the state of the industry just 10 years ago.

    Pennsylvania is one i’m particularly excited about. We’ve been waiting on a sizable contract with a farm that was waiting to receive a license there, and they were one of the 12 chosen today!! We will announce the project and have a case study up at when it’s finished.

    It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of people like Governor Tom Wolf. Good job Pennsylvania!

  18. I can not stand this bettie ? eyed little bastard. He and trump humper can go f… them selves. thank you gov. but i was hopeing you would have made it toatley legal.

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