Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Congressmen Cohen Condemns Sessions’ Marijuana Decision

January 4, 2018
Press Release
Says Federal prosecution of marijuana cases wastes resources

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) on Thursday condemned Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to crack down on states whose voters have authorized the medical or recreational use of marijuana. He released the following statement:

“Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ decision is both draconian and mindless and undercuts a bipartisan consensus that state laws reflecting the will of the people should be respected,” Cohen said.

“The costs of pursuing this misguided policy both in terms of prosecution and in lives blighted by unnecessary criminal convictions are staggering, cruel and unwarranted.

“Sessions is not ‘woke,’ as millennials say, or ‘experienced,’ as Jimi Hendrix observed – or even of this century. Sessions and Trump don’t respect states’ rights when it comes to innovation.

“As Justice Louis Brandeis wisely said years ago, ‘a state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory, and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.’ The 2013 Cole memorandum deprioritized federal prosecution of marijuana offenses in in those laboratories of democracy where citizens have authorized its use, and it made good sense. To abandon it now would be mindless.

“As I told Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray when they appeared before the Judiciary Committee, prosecution of marijuana has an opportunity cost, namely that resources wasted on marijuana cases aren’t being used to prosecute opioid sellers, and crack, cocaine, meth and heroin dealers.”

 

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