Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions has not had a smooth relationship with his state counterparts, with many of them even suing the Department of Justice over unfavorable policies. In early January AG Sessions added fuel to the fire by opening the door for Federal prosecutions of marijuana charges even in states where its use is now legal. But is it AG Sessions against the world or the states against the Constitution?

The Obama years were good ones for states, at least for states wanting to expand their decision-making ability in several legal areas. One of the biggest state victories came in the form of legalized marijuana. Weed is defined as a controlled substance and as such falls under Federal jurisdiction, although most states have similar legislation making its use, possession, etc. a state crime as well. In the majority of minor cases, the state took the lead on prosecution with Feds holding out for only the more serious, farther reaching matters.

But all that changes with the legalization of marijuana, even for recreational use, in many states. Now the states had no seat at the table, and it was up to the Feds to conduct ALL weed enforcement. Now I understand that no matter what was happening at a state level the DEA was not going to be busting kids for a joint, but that was where law enforcement found itself. Plus, there was the issue of federal property – parks, monuments and even open water- places where federal agents conduct all or the majority of enforcement.

Regardless of the state’s point of view weed was still illegal in these areas or when encountered by federal officials.

Obama’s administration “fixed” all that by limiting the U.S. Attorneys’ ability to file criminal charges relating to marijuana in states where it was otherwise legal. They issued a giant “Get Out of Jail Free” card to every citizen of those states. But AG Sessions has rolled back that policy, now allowing U.S. Attorneys to use their discretion when deciding whether to file charges.
Although the states have taken this as a personal attack, and many have threatened to sue “to protect their citizens’ right to choose,” they are off track in doing so. In fact, they may be the ones who are failing to let voices be heard.

Federal laws trump state laws, that is a commonly accepted concept from the beginning of the Nation’s history. At the current time, Federal law says that marijuana is an illegal controlled substance. If the citizens of the Nation feel that is wrong, they should certainly elect an official who either shares this view or will support the view of their constituents and change the Federal law. THEN the states can decide if they wish to legalize use at their level and to what degree. This is how the system works and the only way to ensure continuity from one state to the next.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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