Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jeopardy contestant picks on Barron Trump

Ken Jennings,dumbfuck

Ken Jennings, the longest running Jeopardy contestant, made fun of Barron Trump Wednesday for reportedly thinking Kathy Griffin was actually holding his father’s severed head.

According to a report by TMZ, 11-year-old Barron first saw the photo of Griffin holding Trump’s bloody severed head on television and thought it was actually his father’s head.

Sources told TMZ that Barron cried out for his mother when he saw the image.

Ken Jennings saw this as the perfect opportunity to mock the young boy, tweeting, “Barron Trump saw a very long necktie on a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster. He thought it was his dad & his little heart is breaking.”

When Twitter users called him out for being insensitive, Jennings doubled down on the distasteful joke and argued that he wasn’t making fun of Barron.

Hopefully Jennings is just looking for attention, as his Twitter bio accurately describes himself as a “fixture of yesteryear.”


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Hey Ken do you remember the old days when the jocks would dunk your hear in the toilet or otherwise harass you? We can bring them back into your life and cheer them on as they do their thing to you. Put that in the form of a question: will I like it? No.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ahead to the past

When it comes to criminal justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a man out of time — stuck defiantly in the 1980s, when crime in America was high and politicians scrambled to out-tough one another by passing breathtakingly severe sentencing laws. This mind-set was bad enough when Mr. Sessions was a senator from Alabama working to thwart sentencing reforms in Congress. Now that he is the nation’s top law enforcement officer, he’s trying to drag the country backward with him, even as most states are moving toward more enlightened policies.

On May 12, Mr. Sessions announced a drastic policy ordering federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges against crime suspects in all cases, rescinding an Obama administration directive that focused on reducing punishments for low-level, nonviolent offenders, mostly in drug cases, and steering more law-enforcement resources toward the bigger fish. That approach was working: The federal prison population started to drop for the first time in years, even as crime has remained at historic lows.

Instead of acknowledging these gains, Mr. Sessions has clung to the familiar myth that longer, harsher sentences reduce crime and increase public safety. The evidence shows the opposite: To bring down recidivism, a punishment’s swiftness and certainty matter far more than its length. Longer sentences may even lead to more reoffending.

Mr. Sessions’s outdated ideas have been rebuked across the political spectrum. Eric Holder, the attorney general who issued the Obama-era policy, called the new approach “dumb on crime.” Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, pointed out that people of color suffer disproportionately from mandatory-minimum sentences for drug crimes, and said Mr. Sessions’s charging policy “will accentuate the injustice.” A group of 31 current and former state and local prosecutors — not people ordinarily associated with going soft on crime — signed an open letter calling the directive an “unnecessary and unfortunate return” to harmful and discredited practices. Mr. Sessions has taken a sledgehammer to this rare and fragile bipartisanship, at least on the federal level. And while it’s too soon to know how the new policy will affect sentences, prison populations, or recidivism rates, Mr. Sessions’s assertion that the justice system is not harsh enough — however isolated that view — could trickle down and affect justice reform in the states.

Fortunately, states have been moving in the other direction, as budget-conscious lawmakers saw what Mr. Sessions has not — that locking up more people for longer periods is hugely expensive with no real public-safety payoff. The states should continue with their effective, evidence-based approaches, and Congress should find a way at last to pass meaningful sentencing reform. Reducing or eliminating many mandatory minimums would be optimal, but at this point most anything would be an improvement.

A bipartisan group of senators recently reintroduced the Justice Safety Valve Act, which would give judges more flexibility to impose lighter sentences in certain cases. They were achingly close to passing a similar bill last year, until a small clot of senators blocked it. One of those senators was Jeff Sessions.

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A tribute to Jeff Sessions

Thursday, May 18, 2017

7th annual NCIA lobby days draw in citizen lobbyists to cannabis cause

More than a dozen pending congressional bills sit, waiting for committee hearings and the support of additional sponsors. But while 2017’s federal legislation season sees little hope for a vote in either chamber, that didn’t stop more than 240 citizen lobbyists from storming the offices of friendly and opposed congressional offices, May 15-17, for the 7th annual version of the NCIA Lobby Days.

As they have done for years, constituent business owners shared stories of hardship from onerous, IRS section 280-E rules (creating high business taxes averaging 60 to 70%), experiences of pricey or non-existent access to banking and credit unions, and a continuing push-back against the “anti-science bias” brought by attorney general Jeff Sessions, vilifying the positive patient reports from medical marijuana options. In years past, the “hands-off” attitude of the former Obama administration gave Lobby Day visitors some level of comfort, but the daily whirlwind, Trump administration mini-scandals gave cannabis supporters some break with staffers.

Building on a positive, but fairly powerless, base in both the House and Senate democratic leaders who had been the only cannabis supporters 3 and 4 years back. Co-signers and top cannabis supportive legislators have grown, and most supportive states (counted by NORML’s annual “most supportive” list) include California (9 members), Oregon, Illinois, New York and Colorado.

In March, freshman Congressman Thomas Garrett (R-VA) introduced the same bill brought last year by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which would remove all marijuana classification from the Controlled Substances Act. Movement in Virginia to add medical, and other Democratic member support by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Garrett’s co-sponsor Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-VA) has helped push Virginia into a pro-cannabis leadership role, right in the important DC bedroom communities.

“This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia.” Thomas Garrett

Some NCIA group lobbyists also came back to Senators who’s state’s have — or in 2018 — will have adult-use legal options in their states. Important in any continuing search for support are those Republicans like Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Matt Gaetz (both south Florida Republicans), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who have all signaled their independence from the “war on drugs” mantra being re-issued by AG Sessions. Perhaps the greatest Democratic disappointment continues to be the adamant hatred of liberalized marijuana policies from California’s Sen. Diane Feinstein, a critical member of the Senate Judiciary committee.

Other states rising to the defense of moving sane cannabis liberalization are Florida (two new bills from members introduced), New Jersey (where local legislators promised to push for a legislation bill as soon as Gov. Chris Christies‘ regime ends in one year), strong support from Hawaii and popular Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and even support from moderate Republications in Pennsylvania.

In the race to fill Jeff Session’s senate seat in the special election set for later in 2017, many supporters threw their encouragement to current Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who has called for treating marijuana policy as a states’ rights issue. “It’s important to re-visit and re-engage our key supporters, even as we expand the growing number of smart legislators who see the wisdom of backing MJ reforms now,” said a long-time Denver retailer.

At the tail end of Lobby Days, Colorado Senators Corey Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D) introduced a new bill to protect any banking interests that open account for cannabis firms. All pending, these are the captions to the federal bills addressing various areas of MJ concern:

Small Business Tax Equity Act (bicameral)
Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act (bicameral)
The Veterans Equal Access Act
Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act
Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017
Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017
LUMMA (Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act)
Compassionate Access Act
States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Act


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A lot of petitions to the above mentioned bills can be found here.

Senator Rand Paul on the drug war

From Senator Rand Paul:

The attorney general on Friday made an unfortunate announcement that will impact the lives of millions of Americans: he issued new instructions for prosecutors to charge suspects with the most serious provable offenses, "those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences."

Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated a generation of minorities. Eric Holder, the attorney general under President Obama, issued guidelines to U.S. Attorneys that they should refrain from seeking long sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

I agreed with him then and still do. In fact, I'm the author of a bipartisan bill with Senator Leahy to change the law on this matter. Until we pass that bill, though, the discretion on enforcement -- and the lives of many young drug offenders -- lies with the current attorney general.

The attorney general's new guidelines, a reversal of a policy that was working, will accentuate the injustice in our criminal justice system. We should be treating our nation's drug epidemic for what it is -- a public health crisis, not an excuse to send people to prison and turn a mistake into a tragedy.
And make no mistake, the lives of many drug offenders are ruined the day they receive that long sentence the attorney general wants them to have.

If I told you that one out of three African-American males is forbidden by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years ago.

Yet today, a third of African-American males are still prevented from voting, primarily because of the War on Drugs.

The War on Drugs has disproportionately affected young black males.

The ACLU reports that blacks are four to five times likelier to be convicted for drug possession, although surveys indicate that blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates. The majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, but three-fourths of all people in prison for drug offenses are African American or Latino.

Why are the arrest rates so lopsided? Because it is easier to go into urban areas and make arrests than suburban areas. Arrest statistics matter when cities apply for federal grants. It doesn't take much imagination to understand that it's easier to round up, arrest, and convict poor kids than it is to convict rich kids.

The San Jose Mercury News reviewed nearly 700,000 criminal cases that were matched by crime and criminal history of the defendant. Their analysis showed that whites of similar situation were far more successful in the plea bargaining process and "virtually every stage of pretrial negotiation" than their African-American and Latino counterparts.

I know a guy about my age in Kentucky who was arrested and convicted for growing marijuana plants in his apartment closet in college.

Thirty years later, he still can't vote, can't own a gun, and, when he looks for work, he must check the box -- the box that basically says, "I'm a convicted felon, and I guess I'll always be one."
He hasn't been arrested or convicted for 30 years -- but still can't vote or have his Second Amendment rights. Getting a job is nearly impossible for him.

Mandatory sentencing automatically imposes a minimum number of years in prison for specific crimes -- usually related to drugs.

By design, mandatory sentencing laws take discretion away from judges so as to impose harsh sentences, regardless of circumstances. Our prison population, meanwhile, has increased by over 700% since the 1980s, and 90% of them are nonviolent offenders. The costs of our prison system now approach nearly $100 billion a year. It costs too much, in both the impact on people's lives and on our tax dollars.

I want to go the opposite way from the attorney general. That's why I've partnered with Senator Leahy and once again will be reintroducing the Justice Safety Valve Act.

This isn't about legalizing drugs. It is about making the punishment more fitting and not ruining more lives.

The legislation is short and simple. It amends current law to grant judges authority to impose a sentence below a statutory mandatory minimum.

In other words, we are not repealing mandatory minimums on the books -- we are merely allowing a judge to issue a sentence below a mandatory minimum if certain requirements are met.
We need this legislation because while there is an existing safety valve in current law, it is very limited. It has a strict five-part test, and only about 23% of all drug offenders qualified for the safety valve.

The injustice of mandatory minimum sentences is impossible to ignore when you hear the stories of the victims.

John Horner was a 46-year-old father of three when he sold some of his prescription painkillers to a friend.

His friend turned out to be a police informant, and he was charged with dealing drugs. Horner pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 25 years in jail.
As I testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Edward Clay was an 18-year-old and a first-time offender when he was caught with less than 2 ounces of cocaine. He received 10 years in jail from a mandatory minimum sentence.

Weldon Angelos was a 24-year-old who was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana three times.
Former federal judge Timothy Lewis recalls a case where he had to send a 19-year-old to prison for 10 years for conspiracy. What was the "conspiracy"?

This young man had been in a car where drugs were found. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure one of us might have been in a car in our youth where someone might have had drugs. Before the arrest, according to news reports, this young man was going to be the first in his family to go to college.
Each case should be judged on its own merits. Mandatory minimums prevent this from happening.

Mandatory minimum sentencing has done little to address the very real problem of drug abuse while also doing great damage by destroying so many lives, and most Americans now realize it.

Proposition 47 recently passed in California, and it has spurred a cultural change in the way nonviolent drug offenders are treated, resulting in more than 13,000 fewer prisoners and a savings of $150 million, according to a Stanford Law School study.

Pew Research found that 67% of Americans want drug offenders to get treatment, not prison, and over 60% want an end to mandatory minimum sentences.

I urge the attorney general to reconsider his recent action. But even more importantly, I urge my colleagues to consider bipartisan legislation to fix this problem in the law where it should be handled. Congress can end this injustice, and I look forward to leading this fight for justice.


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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nanny State to dictate correct amount of pizza toppings

Nanny State

What’s more fun that a gooey slice of pizza? The answer is simple: a gooey slice of pizza with the perfectly selected, fresh toppings, of course. But the Food and Drug Administration is demanding that restaurant owners post calorie and other nutritional information about their food… and that might have a terrible effect on the pizza industry. The Daily Signal reports:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments” (79 FR 71155) rule is scheduled to take effect on May 5. The 105-page rule implements Obama-era amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), which sets national standards for the marketing and labeling of food products.

The rule will require, among other mandates, that all restaurants and other retail food outlets, such as movie theaters, operating as one brand with at least 20 stores display a calorie count in addition to other nutritional information for all standard menu items on the establishment’s “menus and menu boards.”


Wait just one second. Has the government finally overstepped so much that New Yorkers and Chicagoans will rebel? You just shouldn’t mess with pizza… and restaurant owners are afraid of accidentally breaking the law. “‘Menu’ can refer to any writing that [is] ‘used by a customer to make an order selection at the time the customer is viewing the writing,” said the former executive vice president of Domino’s Pizza, Lynn Liddle.

As anyone who’s gone to a party knows, pizza slices are sometimes radically different sizes, to the calorie counts wouldn’t be reliable. Plus, adding different toppings would also throw off the numbers. “Industry representatives also pointed out that restaurant owners and supervisors can be held criminally liable for FD&C Act violations under the so-called ‘responsible corporate officer doctrine.'”

Yikes. That’s scary stuff and high fines for someone who just wants to sell pizza, not watch their customers’ weight. One Kentucky restaurant owner said, “To face one year in prison for putting too many pepperonis on a pizza? Everybody laughs and smiles, but that’s the reality of the way it’s written now.”

Give me a break! Let Pizza Hut sell pizzas. Let Weight Watchers keep us thin. Not Uncle Sam.


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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Donald Trump breaks his silence on medical marijuana

President Donald Trump took on the topic of medical marijuana for the first time since he took office in November, and it appears he's kind of in favor of it.

Along with signing the most recent federal funding bill (the one that always brings the threat of a government shut down if it isn't passed), Trump signed an amendment to the bill Friday that stops the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency from using federal funds to arrest people simply for working at a medical marijuana dispensary in a state where it's legal.

Here's Trump's full statement on the amendment:

Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

In the United States, marijuana is illegal in all forms at a federal level, but 29 states have legalized the production, sale, and usage of medical marijuana in some form.

Trump's laissez-faire approach isn't exactly an endorsement of medical marijuana, but it's not an active stance against it.

The amendment doesn't include anything about states that have legalized recreational marijuana in any form.


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Trump is planning to effectively kill the office that has traditionally spearheaded the 'War on Drugs'

The Trump administration plans to cut 96% of the budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), effectively eliminating the federal agency that has traditionally been used to spearhead the war on drugs, according to multiple media reports.

The White House Office of Management and Budget's proposed fiscal year 2018 budget reduces the funding request for ONDCP from $388 million in 2017 to $24 million, according to a leaked memo first reported by CBS News.

The cuts would eliminate approximately half ONDCP's staff, around 33 employees, as well as "intelligence, research and budget functions at the agency, as well as the Model State Drug Laws and Drug Court grant programs," CBS reported Friday.

"These cuts are frankly heartbreaking and, if carried out, cause us to lose many good people who contribute greatly to ONDCP's mission and core activities," Acting Director Richard Baum wrote in an email to ONDCP staff obtained by CBS.

Baum added that news is "discouraging," but told staff "not to panic" and that "events are unfolding."

In addition, the budget proposes to eliminate multiple grant programs administered by ONDCP, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program and the Drug-Free Communities Support program, which the memo called "duplicative of other efforts across the Federal government and supplant State and local responsibilities."

Staff was notified of the budget cuts on Friday. Baum, who was aware of the impending cuts last week, had reportedly been lobbying Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, to keep the agency's budget intact.

In February, when rumors first began circulating that Trump might cut ONDCP's budget, a coalition of medical and drug policy organizations sent a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, urging for ONDCP to remain at the center of efforts to fight drug use.

"At a time when drugs now kill more people than firearms or car crashes, it is more important than ever for ONDCP to remain a strong voice in the White House and a visible presence nationally," the letter read.

But some drug policy experts are cautiously optimistic at the agency's elimination.

"Unfortunately, the ONDCP has a history of advancing predominatively counter-productive policies," Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Business Insider, noting that DPA has supported the "dismantling" of the agency.

Smith noted that elimination of the agency could actually accelerate efforts to treat drug use as a public health, rather than criminal issue, if it means less funding for programs like HIDTA.

But that depends, Smith said, on if the nation's drug policy is in the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has called for cracking down on drug offenders, or someone else.

The ONDCP was first created in 1988 by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act at the height of the crack epidemic and the so-called War on Drugs.

Tom Angell, the founder of pro- marijuana legalization group Marijuana Majority, told Business Insider that it was only during the last years of the Obama Administration, under the direction of then-ONDCP director Michael Botticelli, that the agency made positive efforts towards harm reduction and treatment policies. Traditionally, according to Smith, the agency has been at the forefront of efforts to prosecute and stigmatize drug use.

ONDCP's proposed elimination comes after Trump signed an executive order in March to establish a national commission to address the opioid crisis, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The commission, which was due to receive "administrative support" from ONDCP, was tasked with coming up with strategies to address the crisis.

Many experts said the president's action is "underwhelming."

The reports come one day after Rep. Tom Marino announced that he was withdrawing from consideration for the appointment of ONDCP director, the position more informally known as the Drug Czar, after more than a month of speculation that he would serve. The Pennsylvania Republican was one of Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


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This is great. The Drug Czar has always argued against marijuana legalization. Against the will of the people but now the people no longer have to fund it. The agency that was working against their interests. Let's contact President Trump and thank him for this decision. The more of us he hears from the better.

Benjamin Netanyahu ponders Germany's situation

When asked about the Muslim situation in Germany where a lot of Germans are being beaten up even murdered by the Muslim refugees they allowed into their country and the fact it is causing major problems for the German government Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with this:



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Congressman drills DEA head

CONGRESS WON'T GIVE JEFF SESSIONS MONEY TO FIGHT STATE MARIJUANA LAWS

Congress won’t give Attorney General Jeff Sessions any money to fight a war on state laws to legalize marijuana—at least not in the new budget bill.

A bipartisan group of House Democrats and Republicans agreed Sunday to $1 trillion in government spending to avoid a shutdown and see them through to the end of September.

But while it also gave $1.5 billion more for border security and $12.5 billion for new military spending, there wasn’t any money for Sessions to go after states that have legalized medical marijuana and or where the recreational use of the drug is legal.

The move quashes potential plans to try to prevent 44 states, plus Washington D.C. and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, “from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The move led pro-legalization advocacy groups and House representatives to urge Congress to amend federal law, removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act at a time when support for legalizing marijuana is at an all-time high.

“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store,” Sessions said March 15, likening its use to heroin.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”

America, he said: “needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

In 2016 13,000 Americans died of heroin overdoses while a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet reports no deaths from the use of marijuana.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Attorney General’s office has been reviewing an Obama-era directive that prevents the federal government from interfering in state level marijuana laws.

Marijuana possession is still a federal offence and Sessions had been considering whether he should enforce the federal U.S. Controlled Substances Act against users of the drug, which is ranks higher than cocaine and methamphetamines.

While Sessions said at a Justice Department press briefing in February that states can “pass the laws they choose,” he reminded them that it remains “a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”

Local and state law enforcement have traditionally been relied on to enforce federal law, but in recent instances where city police forces have refused to support Trump’s executive orders on immigration, the federal government has tried to sanction them.

Sessions reportedly told Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s chief of staff last week that he thought Obama’s marijuana directive is “not too far from good policy.”

That means it is time to “ amend federal law in a manner that comports with the available science, public opinion, and with America’s rapidly changing cultural and legal landscape,” said Justin Strekal, Political Director at The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in a statement May 1.

A recent poll by CBS News released April 20 found a 71 percent majority of Americans opposed federal action to stop marijuana sales in states where the drug had been legalized. In all, it found 61 percent of Americans want marijuana to be legalized—a five percentage point increase from the year before and the highest level of support recorded by the poll.

Republicans , known for hardline drug policies, have begun to support legalization too. Last July a poll showed 45 percent of Republicans support legalization measures. Less than a year before the same poll found 50 percent of Republicans opposed them.

“The people have spoken @realDonaldTrump. Don't let Jeff Sessions' draconian views on [marijuana] run roughshod over states,” wrote Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone on Twitter using the “420” code for pot on April 20.

Marijuana, both legal and medicinal, is projected to pull in $7.1 billion in profits in 2016, according to one study. But while the new spending bill gives medical marijuana patients and the businesses that support them “a measure of certainty,” said Oregon House Representative Earl Blumenauer in a statement Monday, the annual challenge of blocking federal action against state marijuana laws “must end.”

“We need permanent protections for state-legal medical marijuana programs, as well as adult-use,” he said.

The best way to achieve this is “removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act,” said Strekal, “so that states possess the flexibility to engage in their own marijuana regulatory policies how best they see fit.”


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Monday, May 1, 2017

US Attorney General to Give Pot a Pass?

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week and left the meeting with the distinct understanding that the recreational marijuana industry will not face the federal crackdown that it had feared.

According to an editorial in the Denver Post, the big takeaway from the meeting is that "the new attorney general is far more focused on other priorities, like securing the border with a wall, than in disrupting our legal cannabis marketplace."

The Department of Justice has been reviewing the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era document that essentially directed federal law enforcement to keep its nose out of states' legal marijuana industry. According to Hickenlooper's chief of staff, Sessions finds the Cole memo "not too far from good policy."

Marijuana Business Daily published Hickenlooper's comments from an interview on MSNBC:

He is very clear. He is anti-drugs in all forms and he's not going to, in any way, encourage anyone to start a marijuana business to think it's a great idea to do or even safe to do so. That being said, he didn't give me any reason to think that he is going to come down and suddenly try to put everyone out of business.


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This is indeed good news. It shows we did make a difference. It shows activism works.