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United States News
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Title: This Bill Would Protect Medical Marijuana Suppliers From Jeff Sessions' Whims
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/blog/2017/06/15/ ... would-protect-medical-marijuan
Published: Jun 15, 2017
Author: Jacob Sullum
Post Date: 2017-06-15 09:19:14 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 694
Comments: 19

USDOJ

Today a bipartisan group of senators plans to introduce a new version of the CARERS Act, which aims to protect medical use of marijuana in the 29 states that allow it.

Among other things, the bill would provide a more permanent shield from prosecution and forfeiture than the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment, the spending rider that bars the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

As Mike Riggs noted on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent congressional leaders a letter urging them not to include the rider, which has to be reapproved each fiscal year, in the DOJ appropriations bill enacted last month.

After Congress rejected Sessions' request, President Trump signed the bill but issued a statement implying that he might ignore the rider if that was necessary to meet his "constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Such a scenario is hard to imagine, since those laws include the restrictions imposed by the Rohrbacher/Farr amendment.

It's not clear how significant the letter and the signing statement are as indicators of Sessions' intentions because the Obama administration also opposed the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment and urged courts to read it narrowly. Under Eric Holder, the DOJ argued that the rider covered only direct legal challenges to medical marijuana programs. Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected that interpretation, ruling that the rider also prohibits the prosecution of people who supply or possess marijuana for medical use in compliance with state laws.

Despite opposing the rider, the Obama administration eventually settled on a policy of prosecutorial restraint, generally tolerating state-licensed marijuana businesses, including those serving recreational consumers, unless they violated state law or impinged on "federal law enforcement priorities."

Sessions has said he agrees with much of that policy but thinks it was not applied vigorously enough—an attitude that, along with his well-known anti-pot prejudices, could signal a crackdown. But so far Sessions has not tried to shut down state-legal cannabusinesses, which federal prosecutors could easily do simply by writing some threatening letters. Nor has he challenged state marijuana laws in federal court, even as lawsuits by other parties (neighboring states, local law enforcement officials, and anti-drug activists) have fizzled out.

Sessions' restraint may have something to do with positions taken by his boss before and after the presidential election. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said states should be free to legalize marijuana, and he has consistently said medical use should be permitted. A crackdown on medical marijuana would break Trump's promises, and it would stir up a lot of political trouble with no obvious upside, other than gratification of Sessions' prohibitionist impulses.

Still, it would be nice to have some lasting protection from the attorney general's whims. In addition to prohibiting federal prosecution of patients and their suppliers, the CARERS Act would eliminate some obstacles to marijuana research, allow doctors employed by the Veterans Health Administration to recommend medical marijuana in states where it is legal, and remove cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive but therapeutically promising component of marijuana, from Schedule I, the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. The bill, which was originally introduced in 2015, no longer includes provisions that would have removed marijuana from Schedule I and protected banks that serve the cannabis industry.

Those provisions were cut in the hope of attracting broader support for the bill. The initial sponsors this year include Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who did not back the 2015 version, as well as Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.), who were cosponsors then. (1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

What an example of a twisted and convoluted way to get around the will of the people.

"Still, it would be nice to have some lasting protection from the attorney general's whims."

Yeah. It's called "repealing the law". But the people don't want to repeal the law.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-15   9:34:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: misterwhite (#1)

What an example of a twisted and convoluted way to get around the will of the people.

WTF is your problem paulsen?

You don't like it when the people decide what is best for their states and you don't like it when the senate proposes a bill that would protect those states.

Typical drug warrior mentality.

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

Deckard  posted on  2017-06-15   10:24:45 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#2)

Deckard we would be better off if no one used heroin. Would you agree with that statement?

A K A Stone  posted on  2017-06-15   10:31:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: A K A Stone (#3)

Deckard we would be better off if no one used heroin. Would you agree with that statement?

We would be better off if no one used alcohol. Would you agree with that statement?

This article has nothing to do with heroin.

Keep beating that strawman!

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

Deckard  posted on  2017-06-15   10:34:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Deckard (#2)

"You don't like it when the people decide what is best for their states ..."

Correct. That's mob rule where a small number of motivated voters make the decision for the majority. The Founding Fathers saw the danger in that and created a representative republic.

"... and you don't like it when the senate proposes a bill that would protect those states."

No. I don't like it when legislators decide not to enforce the laws they pass. Either enforce the law or repeal it.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-15   12:41:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: misterwhite (#5)

That's mob rule where a small number of motivated voters make the decision for the majority.

Yes sir! Like that small number of people in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia who didn't want to pay taxes to pay for war debts incurred by their country.

Anthem  posted on  2017-06-15   13:58:49 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Anthem (#6)

Yes sir! Like that small number of people in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia who didn't want to pay taxes to pay for war debts incurred by their country.

Yeah. What did they have to do with it?!

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-15   15:06:10 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Deckard, A K A Stone (#4)

This article has nothing to do with heroin.

Indirectly it does. How can you legalize marijuana and not heroin? If the government has no business in one, it has no business in the other.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-15   15:10:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: misterwhite (#7)

Yeah. What did they have to do with it?!

You're going have to answer that one. I know there were some who fought in the war.

Anthem  posted on  2017-06-15   17:00:06 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: misterwhite (#8) (Edited)

How can you legalize marijuana and not heroin? If the government has no business in one, it has no business in the other.

Whose philosophy of the law or government is this? If the government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit alcohol why wouldn't the same constraint apply to any substance?

Opium, and its derivatives morphine and heroin, and cocaine were all legally available in the 19th century. A common pain medication called laudlum sold OTC before prohibition. It was a mixture of opium and alcohol.

So what is this, "has no business in one, it has no business in the other"? Does the inverse hold, if it has business with one, then it has business with the other (any other)? If one is outlawed they all should be outlawed?

Anthem  posted on  2017-06-15   17:12:25 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: Anthem (#9)

You're going have to answer that one. I know there were some who fought in the war.

I was being sarcastic. They ultimately benefitted. I pay property taxes even though I have no children in school.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-15   17:37:22 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Anthem (#10)

"Whose philosophy of the law or government is this?"

Libertarian. They believe all drugs should be legal.

"If the government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit alcohol why wouldn't the same constraint apply to any substance?"

An amendment prohibiting alcohol was desired, not required.

"If one is outlawed they all should be outlawed?"

Depending on how they fit into the 8 factors defined in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. But many say that the federal government shouldn't regulate recreational drugs. So how can they regulate all recreational drugs ... except marijuana?

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-15   17:48:31 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: Anthem (#10)

A common pain medication called laudlum sold OTC before prohibition. It was a mixture of opium and alcohol.

Laudanum.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-15   20:06:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: Tooconservative (#13)

That's what I said.

I just spelled it the way you spellit after youv had some. thing

Anthem  posted on  2017-06-16   2:08:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: misterwhite (#12)

An amendment prohibiting alcohol was desired, not required.

I caught your post just before I left and was driving along thinking that you're making a distinction that doesn't bear scrutiny. An amendment is a big deal, or so it is for those of us who have seen only one in our adult life. Then again, they had just put a couple over in the few years prior, so maybe people were getting used to them.

At any rate, I think you're putting too fine a point on it. They're politicians. Taking away beer is like kicking voter's children. So I'll stick with requirement, because if they could get away with just passing the Volstead act, they would have and be done with it.

Later, with the growth in power of the Federal government, they were able to get away with just passing laws. Apparently you're in favor of that, so I'll ask: Have you taken the time to consider the arguments for common law vs legislative (or royal magisterial) law making? Most especially at the national or international level in relation to individual behavior. In what way, or for what reason, is that superior to local law (other than laws concerning inter-jurisdictional flight to evade local criminal prosecution).

If I wanted to use heroin for some reason and found a county were it was legal, what business is it of anyone elses so long as I don't threaten others (driving would be a threat, just as it is with alcohol)?

By the way, the label "recreational" is dishonest. In most cases there is an underlying pathology that is driving drug or alcohol abuse. Getting high on occasion may be recreational, but steady use is treating something, effectively or not (and the evidence of effective use of marijuana is more that a preponderance).

Relying on the ignorance and prejudices of the general population to support prohibition was not leadership a hundred years ago, and it isn't now.

Anthem  posted on  2017-06-16   3:10:35 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: Anthem (#15)

I caught your post just before I left and was driving along thinking that you're making a distinction that doesn't bear scrutiny. An amendment is a big deal, or so it is for those of us who have seen only one in our adult life. Then again, they had just put a couple over in the few years prior, so maybe people were getting used to them.

Hmmm...there have been five ratified since 1961. The most recent was the 27th ratified in 1992. It's a favorite of mine. It was proposed in 1789 and Maryland was the first state to ratify it.

This proposed amendment was largely forgotten until Gregory Watson, an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a paper on the subject in 1982 for a political science course.[5] In the paper, Watson argued that the amendment was still "live" and could be ratified. Watson received a "C" grade on his paper from one of the course's teaching assistant. Watson appealed the grade to the course instructor, Sharon Waite, who declined to overrule the teaching assistant.[9][10] Watson responded by starting a new push for ratification with a letter-writing campaign to state legislatures.[11]

In 2016, Zachary Elkins, a Professor in the Department of Government became interested in Watson's story and began to document its origins. He tracked down Sharon Waite, who had left academia in the 1980's to run a citrus farm in the Rio Grande valley. Elkins suggested to Waite that they change Watson's grade.[12]

In 2017, Elkins submitted a grade change form with Waite's signature and a grade change to "A+". The registrar approved a grade change to "A", because the university does not give grades higher than "A".[13][14]

The U.S. Supreme Court, in its decision Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939), had ruled that the validity of state ratifications of a constitutional amendment is political in nature—and so not a matter properly assigned to the judiciary. It also held that as a political question, it was up to Congress to determine if an amendment with no time limit for ratification was still viable after an extended lapse of time based on "the political, social and economic conditions which have prevailed during the period since the submission of the amendment".

When Watson began his campaign in early 1982, he was aware of ratification by six states and he erroneously believed that Virginia's 1791 approval was the last action taken by the states. He learned in 1983 that Ohio had approved it in 1873 as a means of protest against the Salary Grab Act and learned in 1984 that Wyoming had done the same in 1978, as a protest against a congressional pay raise.[11][15] Watson did not know, until after the amendment's adoption, that Kentucky had ratified the amendment in 1792.[16]

In April 1983, Maine became the first state to ratify the amendment as a result of Watson's campaign, followed by Colorado in April 1984. Numerous state legislatures followed suit. Michigan's ratification on May 7, 1992, provided what was believed to be the 38th state ratification required for the archivist to certify the amendment[5]—Kentucky's 1792 ratification having been overlooked.

I like that this guy stuck with it until he finally changed his C to an A.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-06-16   9:41:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: Anthem (#15)

I caught your post just before I left and was driving along thinking that you're making a distinction that doesn't bear scrutiny. An amendment is a big deal, or so it is for those of us who have seen only one in our adult life.

"An amendment to the Constitution obviously appealed to temperance reformers more than a federal statute banning liquor. A simple congressional majority could adopt a statute but, with the shift of a relatively few votes, could likewise topple one. Drys feared that an ordinary law would be in constant danger of being overturned owing to pressure from liquor industry interests or the growing population of liquor-using immigrants. A constitutional amendment, on the other hand, though more difficult to achieve, would be impervious to change. Their reform would not only have been adopted, the Anti-Saloon League reasoned, but would be protected from future human weakness and backsliding."
-- http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/rnp/RNP1.html

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-16   9:48:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#18. To: Anthem (#15)

"If I wanted to use heroin for some reason and found a county were it was legal, what business is it of anyone elses so long as I don't threaten others (driving would be a threat, just as it is with alcohol)?"

Using heroin is not illegal, so I need to redefine the argument. The laws are against possessing, distributing and manufacturing.

The reason it is illegal to possess, distribute or manufacture heroin is that the heroin won't stay in that county. According to the Congressional findings in the Controlled Substances Act (1970), 21 U.S. Code § 801:

(3) A major portion of the traffic in controlled substances flows through interstate and foreign commerce. Incidents of the traffic which are not an integral part of the interstate or foreign flow, such as manufacture, local distribution, and possession, nonetheless have a substantial and direct effect upon interstate commerce because—

(A) after manufacture, many controlled substances are transported in interstate commerce,

(B) controlled substances distributed locally usually have been transported in interstate commerce immediately before their distribution, and

(C) controlled substances possessed commonly flow through interstate commerce immediately prior to such possession.

(4) Local distribution and possession of controlled substances contribute to swelling the interstate traffic in such substances.

(5) Controlled substances manufactured and distributed intrastate cannot be differentiated from controlled substances manufactured and distributed interstate. Thus, it is not feasible to distinguish, in terms of controls, between controlled substances manufactured and distributed interstate and controlled substances manufactured and distributed intrastate.

(6) Federal control of the intrastate incidents of the traffic in controlled substances is essential to the effective control of the interstate incidents of such traffic.
-- https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/801

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-16   10:03:48 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#19. To: Anthem (#15)

"Getting high on occasion may be recreational, but steady use is treating something, effectively or not"

Then the steady use is called "medical" by the proponents of medical marijuana. And your evidence is anecdotal, not scientific. I am not aware of any major medical organization or major support group that recognizes smoked marijuana as medicine.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-06-16   10:11:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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