Bipartisan Members Of Congress Speak Out Against AG Sessions

Attorney General and Anti-Marijuana Crusader Jeff Sessions

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) held a bipartisan special order on Wednesday, January 17th to address the implications surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole Memo. Simply put, a special order is a practice in Congress where a member is able to speak on any topic they wish after the House of Representatives has been adjourned for the day.

Rep. Gaetz was joined by Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Lou Correa (D-CA), and Mark Sanford (R-SC) to articulate the case on behalf of the beneficiaries of the Cole Memo. The memo was originally drafted by former U.S. Attorney General James Cole in 2013 and was issued to attorneys in states where medical or recreational marijuana was legal. The memo stipulates that as long as the states follow certain rules – i.e. the prevention of distributing marijuana to minors – the states are able to regulate marijuana with very little federal interference.

The Cole Memo signaled a shift away from the use of federal funds to regulate marijuana, giving states a more laissez-faire, states rights approach to cannabis. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and is listed as a schedule one drug signaling to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse, both of which any follower of published research would know to not be true.

In light of the increasing acceptance and legalization of both medical and adult use marijuana, AG Sessions’ decision puts the nascent cannabis industry in an increased state of anxiety and threatens medical marijuana users’ access to cannabis.

Gaetz spoke on behalf of his constituents benefiting from medical marijuana and gave the floor to Curbelo, Correa, and Sanford who all unanimously pointed to the overwhelming advantages of the Cole Memo. The representatives remarked on Sessions’ decision as a move backwards for marijuana policy and medical marijuana recipients.

Sessions defended his decision as a “return to the rule of law,” but the removal of the Cole Memo could result in increased profits for criminal enterprises in the illegal marijuana trade. Curbelo went so far as to say that the Attorney General “has actually done a great favor to those who operate outside the law and is punishing those who are actually trying to control this substance.”

Sessions’ unprecedented move threatens the cannabis industry, legalization, and recipients of medical marijuana. The special order demonstrates a bilateral effort amongst Congress to preserve the rights and autonomy of states to regulate cannabis.

Has your member of Congress spoken out yet? Click here to send them a message right now.

Too often we don’t thank those who speak up on our behalf, so please also take the next step and call to thank the Representatives for taking to the floor of the House on behalf of protecting our progress by using this easy and short script:

“Thank you for standing up and speaking on behalf of the states’ rights to regulate marijuana on January 17th.

It’s encouraging to see your office take a leadership role in this debate and I encourage the Representative to continue to do so by co-sponsoring HR 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act to protect the rights of the people and state legislatures that have reformed their cannabis laws.”

Below are the phone numbers of the Representatives who spoke up on the floor during the special order:

Matt Gaetz (R, FL-01), 202-225-4136

Carlos Curbelo (R, FL-26), 202-225-2778

Lou Correa (D, CA-46), 202-225-2965

Mark Sanford (R, SC-01), 202-225-3176

33 thoughts

  1. No, Lamar Smith, R-TX hasn’t “spoken out” in favor of marijuana reform. But he is on his WAY out!

    And the front runner Republican to replace him is our state representative Jason Isaac, (R-TX, Dripping Springs) who gave passionate testimony in committee for our Medical Marijuana bill during the 2017 legislative Session. If I see him struggling during the primaries I may vote for him and then vote Democratic during the general election. Oh wait! Well, perhaps other Texans can do that, but I already pledged to vote for Beto O’rourke during the primaries when I was gathering signatures for him to exempt the app fee… Oh well. Still way worth replacing the guy-who-we-all-want-to-punch-in-the-face-Ted Cruz.

    Of course the Democratic candidates in my district all support marijuana reform. Texas primaries begin in March so PLEASE make sure all our friends and relatives are registered to vote, even if we have to take registration cards from the Post Office and fill them out for the lazy little f*c*ers at the family barbecue! Wanna complain? SIGN HERE!

    I find it so encouraging that were going from a climate denying prohibitionist that refuses access to marijuana to our veterans while pretending to care about them… Lamar Smith… to a true veteran and Democratic candidate Joseph Kopser to replace him. Lamar Smith saw the writing on the wall… the blue and green Tsunami wall, that is.

    And best of all, even if Joseph Kopser loses, we’ll get a strong Republican supporter of marijuana reform through Jason Isaac. WIN WIN!

    I just had an epiphany; after more than a decade of no responses from Lamar Smith on marijuana policy… I’m finally going to have a federal representative this year who will answer my calls and letters and work with Texas NORML on marijuana reform during the 2019 legislative session… I wonder what that’s going to feel like? (Mind exploding emoji…)

    1. Republican state Rep. Jason Isaac has a bbq fundraiser coming up that I will attend. I may have pledged my heart and vote to the Blue Wave and Green Grass, but there are still ways to support marijuana reforming Republicans for the primaries… whether we vote for them or not. Our prohibitionist opponents do it all the time; it’s called betting on both horses. Why do we think Dems are always throwing the fight?

      We can sway Republican primaries to weed out the worst prohibitionists.

      So why should we rely on exclusive donations to one side? Just because our Progressive Democratic candidate doesnt take PAC money doesnt mean the Roy Moores out there wont either. If we see a good Republican marijuana reformer during a primary lets raise the stakes and donate so they become our worst scenario during a general election… Attend a Republican fundraiser. Get a marijuana conversation going with some Republicans; even while we vote Democratic and the Lion’s share of our donations go to the prize-PAC money refusing, marijuana descheduling Democrat.

      Otherwise it’s like we’re paying Pay-Per-View… who bets on both boxers with OUR money… while WE pretend theyre not holding back till round 10 and the underdog isnt going to throw the fight. It’s hamster-wheel adrenaline; I get more of a rush fixing broken plumbing. Thats what watching primaries is like.

      But… What if we could could influence the best candidates on both sides during the primaries to represent our marijuana reforming interests from training day long before they’re singled out for the big fight? Now THAT’s a battle worth fighting for!
      Annie up, NORML. Pot’s right and almost legal.

      And while were donating, please donate to Texas NORML. We’re completely broke and about to lose our full time executive director.


      2. @ Julian,

        Your commitment to the cause is beyond reproach.

        And, I’m not saying you shouldn’t interact with Republicans in the way you describe, but I do believe the risk to the strategy is in the resulting normalization of white supremacy as a legitimate power structure.

        One can negotiate with people of good faith who have differing opinions. But one cannot negotiate with fascists and terrorists, or con-aartist! Any attempt to do so lends them legitimacy, and sets us up to be played for suckers.

        I can’t have a meaningful conversation with a KKK scumbag, so long as he’s wearing his white hood. And the Republicans are ALL wearing their KKK emblem on their sleeves, as it were, by the fact of their unwavering support for their Grand Wizard Donald Trump.

        I am only advising caution on that point: we must not lend legitimacy to white supremacist politicians.

      3. Mark,

        I get what youre saying, brother; the Republican brand has been permanently poisoned. The tax bill proved that no Republicans have a backbone when it comes down to the almighty dollar. Hence, the “Blue Wave” of small donations. Keep in mind I said I’d buy a bbq plate and eat lunch with him; I didnt say I’d vote for him!

        Our participation creates our political identity. Powerful institutions are governed by what we pay for and how we pay for it. Votes may determine who is in power but Taxes, tithes and tips determine what is in power. And money isnt the only way to pay… remember cannabis was once used as tax and currency in colonial America.

        Unfortunately, we are not yet at the glorious evolution in our politics to hold fundraisers where politicians can publically enjoy marijuana with their constituents. To think of all the free alcohol provided at fundraisers is it any wonder why we cant elevate our political conversations or why we get purchased by super PACS?

        But we can BBQ. Sharing food humanizes our political representatives… And while you may understandably percieve “legitimizing” a Republican as a threat when the political party sold it’s soul to a dumpster fire, here’s some food for thought;

        Remember the difference between legitimizing a political candidate and a sold politician. What if we could convince a Republican campaign to refuse PAC money over some beer and brisket? If we can do that it’s not hard to imagine a day when political fundraisers are passing good ideas with a joint in a public circle, instead of passing envelopes stuffed with cash at a private table.

        My version of Citizens United is when we’re all sharing some marijuana on the national mall in front of our capitol, we agree on some solutions and we elect our polticians through direct democracy, and campaign donations are determined by good food and a joint.

      4. @ Julian,

        Point taken.

        Good food for thought. An unelected candidate, still running for office, may still have time to save their political soul. (They could still be bullshitting you over their brisket, I might add.)

        In any case, if you can sit down and eat lunch with a Republican to discuss politics, without barfing, I’ll give you credit for having an iron stomach!

      5. This is a good conversation and I’m glad we’re having it. I agree with both sides, frankly.

        I have a visceral dislike of Republican politicians. I believe them to be cold-blooded and heartless money mongers. They prey on and manipulate the emotions of their supporters, keep them from grasping how thoroughly they themselves are usually getting fucked with their legislation.

        However, I’m reluctant to cut all ties with them, or paint them with too broad a brush. For one thing, about 90% of my wife’s family and extended family are GOpers, and I genuinely like a few of them. For another, I try to give people chances, try to give ’em the benefit of the doubt–with TRY being the optimal word.

        That doesn’t mean I don’t hate their politics (and it doesn’t mean that I don’t hate that they fall so readily for the GOP bullshit).

        And to those among us who are so passionately Democrat or liberal or progressive–Mark, Dain, Sean and others–that doesn’t mean I’ll ever support any GOPer politically, and that I won’t quit fighting against them–ever. In fact, if anything I’ve becoming more vehemently liberal with each growing year. (They say people always get more conservative as they grow older–ha!)

        I voted for George McGovern for Prez in 1972, the year I turned 18 and the year 18-year-olds got the vote, and am still proud as hell of that vote, notwithstanding the drubbing he took in the election. And I still hate Richard Nixon with every fiber of my soul to this day, along with Ronald Reagan and Dubya, and, yes, the Prince of Orange. And I’ll smoke a packed bowl the day His Orangeness is marched out of the White House.

        So, while I won’t hate every GOPer out there, I will continue to hate every GOPer politico.

      6. @ Evening Bud,
        Right. Come at me as a person, I’m listening. Come at me as a Republican Nazi, and you can kiss my ass.
        But they can’t have it both ways.

  2. I saw Gaetz speaking on CSPAN and wanted to post some comments he made regarding marijuana in video format. Thanks, NORML, for posting this!

  3. While we in the marijuana legalization community appeal to the Federal Government, Trump and Putin have shut it all down — at least, the parts we American citizens need and depend upon.

    A Government shutdown is only good for anarchists, white supremacists, and hostile foreign powers. Naturally, The Police State continues to ride the free money gravy train. And now Sessions is free to crackdown on legal marijuana operations.

    Will he? Do we really want to find out? Should it ever have gotten to this point, where we must ask the question?

    Trump was, is, and always will be an enemy to the American People. At best, he is a sociopath who is fundamentally incapable of public service. In fact, he is a dictatorial white supremacist, and a Russian operative.

    Anarchy is not good for the marijuana legalization movement. We wish to join mainstream society, not destroy it.

    Dump Trump like used kitty litter!

    1. Bluntly speaking, Gaetz is a Trump tool and accomplice. He has an ulterior motive. I cannot thank him for that. I hope to see him become a private citizen as soon as possible.

    2. Dain,
      In attempt to answer your question about Sessions “will he?” -crackdown on dispensaries, I think yes if he could authorize the asset forfeitures with some cooperative US attorneys and judges, which is where I believe he and the DEA will experience some resistance.

      While it is true the government shutdown has officially expired the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, and Sessions rescinded the Cole memos, keep in mind the memos were rescinded weeks ago and crackdowns on responsible adult dispensaries have been perfectly legal and we havnt seen that yet.

      What is more likely a Sessions’ priority is to use our hard earned tax dollars to hire more defense attorneys and prosecutors in pivitol cases like Washington v. Sessions where the Constitutionality of the entire scheduling of marijuana has been exposed. There are oral arguments scheduled for Valentine’s Day and 12-year-old Alexis Bortell is a powerful, natural orator who will make a formidable witness. She’ll melt the jury.

      And while the federal government may or may not be running Monday morning, (no thanks to the Koch brothers who benefit from shutdowns and wish to stumble federal hemp legalization, who I suspect are pulling strings on the Trumpuppet)… I’ll tell you what will be operating:

      1). State governments like Vermont when Governor Scott will sign our nation’s first legislatively enacted marijuana cultivation depenalization, just in time to use as evidence in Federal Court.

      2). The Special Councel; Mueller’s team is funded indefinitely by law. Trump’s deposition is underway… and Sessions is on the $#!+list.

      Let’s just say that US attorneys know their boss has his hands full of $#!+ and we all have better things to do than issue orders and search warrants to legal thieves.

      1. @ Jose Valdez,
        I don’t do crack. And my brain damage is from being subjected to reefer madness, and not from drugs. (Okay, maybe booze, back in my partying days.)

        But thanks anyway!

    3. I’m not trying to be rude, but I feel like you don’t understand anything about “anarchists” or “anarchy”, at all. Seems like hyperbole to me. I’m a registered US voter, so save your flames for someone else. I’m also highly educated, so I’m not buying it. You want to convince them to legalize? Don’t sound like you’re wearing a tin foil hat while you do it, because they won’t he convinced. You may be just a troll, but in case your not, please don’t try to bullshit your way through this and make us all look bad.

  4. Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) made an impressive and highly informed speech. I have read the transcript (which is provided via the link in the article above.)

    Frankly, I was shocked to hear a Republican speak so coherently and reasonably. I might have mistaken him for a Democrat, until I encountered the following paragraph:

    “I’m hopeful that the Treasury Secretary has more foresight than we have seen from the Attorney General office and he will provide this guidance. Mr. Speaker, I ask that the President personally engage. I know the President, I know him to be a man of a huge heart that cares about people.”

    Did you say a “man of huge heart?” Sorry, I just blew milk out my nose.

    Republicans cover for Trump and turn on Sessions. Why? You guessed it: money. But Why would Trump want to turn on Sessions? Is Trump pro-legalization? No. Only one reason: the Russia investigations, and Sessions recusal from them.

    Fact remains: only way to get to Trump is to chew through as many Republican assholes as it takes, that is to say, all of them.

    Get on the big Blue Wave! Vote!

  5. The Republican “My Money First” principle of science: A Republican will be in support of marijuana legalization when, and only when, said Republican has personal, financial “skin in the game.”

  6. Before we get all misty-eyed over Gaetz, let’s see if we’re dealing with a Bullshit Artist here, lest we get played for suckers. From Wikipedia:

    “2017 Special Counsel investigation
    In November 2017 Gaetz introduced a congressional resolution demanding Robert Mueller’s recusal as Special Counsel due to conflicts of interest.[19] In the resolution Gaetz called for a Special Counsel investigation into the handling of the Hillary Clinton email controversy by the FBI, undue interference of Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the investigation, and the acquisition of Uranium One by the Russian state corporation Rosatom during Mueller’s time as FBI director.[20][21] Gaetz stated that he did not trust him to lead the investigation because of Mueller’s alleged involvement in approval of the Uranium One deal and Mueller’s close relationship with the dismissed FBI director James Comey, a probable person of interest in the proposed investigation.”


    “Donald Trump
    On February 23, 2017, Gaetz, worried about protesters disrupting him from being able to speak at his town hall in Pace, Florida, prepared what his staffers called “the ‘non-verbal town hall,’ reminiscent of a scene from the movie Love Actually. Gaetz has printed out part of a speech that gets some of his message across onto giant boards that he will hold up if he is unable to get a word in.”[27] One of the heavy signs prepared for Gaetz to hold up during the anticipated loud moments was printed “Professional Liberal Protestors”.[27] Gaetz arrived 30 minutes late to the Pace town hall and faced at least 500 constituents crowded into the Oops Bowling Alley, where he was grilled about his relationship with Trump, his stance on repealing the Affordable Care Act, and his proposal to abolish the EPA.”

    1. No point in wasting time trying to legalize marijuana if we are willing to hand America over to white supremacist fascism, under Putin’s management.

      Might as well just report to the concentration camp for a few good hits of Zyclon B.

  7. I was all about to go to my Congressman’s Facebook page and give him a little credit for this. But then I saw the rest of his posts, and realized that he’s an awful human being who’s actively working for the destruction of American Democracy. Go to hell, Matt Gaetz. You support all the weed you want, I’m still ashamed that a scumbag like you represents me.

    1. @ Tony,
      Thank you, that’s what I’ve been trying to say, too. The Republicans are trying to play the marijuana community for suckers. They talk pot, but walk Trump. That’s a sucker’s game.

  8. People, the Republicans ain’t worth a shit to the marijuana community. They got no principle. You simply cannot count on them to do anything but try to screw you at every opportunity.

    1. We would be better of going back underground, rather than teaming up with white supremacists. And that’s the fucking Republicans.

      I say again, fuck Trump and fuck his Republican carrion eaters.

      1. Your mental state is beyond the pale. You need to be institutionalized quickly. You’re a menace to society. Turn yourself in or off yourself today sicko!

      2. @ Jose Valdez,
        I appreciate your concern, or I would if it were genuine. I will play along anyway..
        I used to be a menace to society, when I was drinking heavily. I could have killed anybody in those days, including myself. But now I am just a peaceful pothead, and I am a threat to no one.

        I tried turning myself in once, sort of. They said they didn’t have a record of the crimes as I described them.

        So, no way, Jose! Guess you’re stuck with me.

      3. @Jose: after reading your post, it is clear that you are the menace. So, yeah Jose, I’m crazy. You want to make something of it? Because I’m crazy for legalization. Crazy for cannabis freedom. Crazy for liberty. Crazy for Patsy Cline.

  9. I’m a bit perplexed. After the comment by Jeff Sessions that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Doesn’t that smack of defamation of character to several million people? Why haven’t the government officials from all the states that have positive marijuana regulations band together and stand up for their citizens and sue Sessions for defamation?
    And furthermore. Why aren’t reporters and members of committees asking the most important question of all, what is your knowledge of cannabis? And ask a few pertinent questions to test their knowledge, when they fumble answers,ask them how they can make decisions that affect so many people, based on limited and plainly fictitious information. Are all their decisions based on limited information of the subject at hand or are they unfairly singling out cannabis?
    We should make an example of Sessions and spread the word,we are not going to take the uninformed and malicious treatment we’ve had to endure all these years!

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