(TN) Thorne Peters–The Trial of the Millennium Continues today

The “Trial of the Millennium” has been sent to the jury.


FOUND GUILTY, BY JURY, of  “possession of pot – that I was not in possession of…”

To be sentenced to 12 years on April 3, 2018. 

thorne peters 3.1.18

At approximately 12:30pm CST Thorne Peters initiated a live video from the Courthouse on Facebook.

The final jury instructions from  Judge J. Robert Carter, Jr.,  were to  “follow the law”!  according to Thorne.   (… “Follow the legislation as if it were the law!” said Thorne, sarcastically in the video)

“If you follow the legislation  we are slaves, if you follow the law we are all free.”

A loud and outspoken Activist for Human Rights and Cannabis use, Thorne is taking it to the Jury to fight for #NoMensRae.  To have a crime you must have a victim and there is no victim in possessing,   using or growing pot.

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Follow these links to read up on the trial of Thorne Peters and the legacy of #NoMensRae.



There is no “MENS REA” for a POT bust!





Pro-pot advocate defends self on marijuana charges

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Katie Fretland, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

Wearing a cannabis plant necklace and a long black robe, pro-pot advocate Thorne Peters defended himself on marijuana charges and a gun charge Wednesday in an afternoon punctuated by yelling between him and the judge.

Judge Bobby Carter repeatedly asked Peters to stop editorializing and opining in front of the jury as Peters acted as his own attorney during the first day of testimony in his trial in Shelby County Criminal Court.

“This is not productive,” Carter said.

“I know it’s not,” said Peters, who told The Commercial Appeal he had smoked as much pot as he possibly could on Wednesday.

“And it’s because of you,” Carter said.

“No, it’s because of you,” Peters told the judge, who immediately asked the jury to step out.

“This is your last chance. You are in contempt. You are absolutely in contempt of this court,” Carter said, before telling Peters to stop pulling out documents, stop characterizing them in front of the jury and stop waving them around.

“You have to control yourself,” the judge said.

The first day of testimony was heard in front of a group of a dozen public defenders and prosecutors who watched the trial.

At one point in his discussions with the judge, Peters implored Carter to “swing the gavel and end the siege of prohibition.”

“No, I couldn’t,” Carter said.

“You can,” Peters said.

“No, I couldn’t,” Carter reiterated.
The charges against Peters, who pulled paperwork to run as an independent for Shelby County mayor in the Aug. 2 election, stem from an arrest Feb. 3, 2015 in a search warrant for him at his girlfriend’s address in the 700 block of Marianna Street in Orange Mound.

“I’m proud to be a pot salesman,” he told authorities in a tape played for the jury.

On the day of his arrest, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit served a search warrant naming Peters as the suspect, according to a law enforcement affidavit. Detectives approached the residence and cut a lock to the front gate and entered the property.

Two large dogs charged the detectives, according to the affidavit, and a sheriff’s sergeant fired a less lethal shotgun round. A pit bull named Muggles was shot in the face. He lived but lost his right eye and hearing on his right side. None of the officers was injured.

Muggles was shot with a less lethal round in the face by a Shelby County Sheriff's sergeant while the sheriff's office Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit executed a search warrant with Thorne Peters as a suspect on Feb. 3, 2015. Muggles lost an eye and hearing on his right side from the shooting.

Muggles was shot with a less lethal round in the face by a Shelby County Sheriff’s sergeant while the sheriff’s office Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit executed a search warrant with Thorne Peters as a suspect on Feb. 3, 2015. Muggles lost an eye and hearing on his right side from the shooting. (Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Detectives then forced entry through the front door of the house. Peters and Linda Harrah were found in the dining room and taken into custody.

The affidavit says a detective searched the front room of the house and found a Gendarmeria Nacional .45 caliber pistol. A plastic baggie of 14.8 grams of suspected marijuana, a wooden pipe, glass pipe and two baggies of marijuana cigarette butts were found in the dining room.

Detective Jeremy Drewery, who has since been terminated from the sheriff’s office and convicted in federal court of unlawfully taking money from a drug dealer in 2016 and trying to have a witness killed, was also part of the search. The affidavit says Drewery searched a northwest bedroom and found three jars of suspected marijuana weighing 339 grams, a digital scale and five glass pipes. He also found $403 in a tin box, the affidavit says.

Drewery searched Harrah’s purse and found $184 which was released back to her, and 4.8 grams of suspected marijuana, according to the affidavit.

All of the suspected marijuana tested positive for THC, according to the affidavit.

Peters, who has represented himself before, has two previous misdemeanor marijuana convictions on his record. Three felony drugs counts were previously dismissed, according to court records.

The trial was still underway late Wednesday afternoon.



Marijuana to Stay A Schedule I Drug, Federal Judge Denies Reclassification

Image result for alexis bortell

By Anushree Madappa On 02/27/18

On Monday, a federal judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a request to reclassify marijuana — currently a Schedule I drug, leaving the plaintiffs in a limbo after many states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.

The plaintiffs — Marvin Washington, Dean Bartell, Alexis Bartell, Jose Belen, Sebastien Cotte, Jagger Cotte, along with the Cannabis Cultural Association Inc. — filed the petition challenging classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, hoping that it’s reclassification would pay way for legalization of cannabis across the nation. They sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the federal court.

They petitioners claimed that the “current scheduling of marijuana violates due process because it lacks a rational basis.”

For decades, Marijuana has been under the Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act, the highest level of drug classification making it on par with dangerous drugs like heroin. The government has repeatedly rejected appeals for reclassification. The substances in this schedule have “a high potential for abuse,” (2) “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and (3) there is “a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”

Deeming marijuana as a highly dangerous drug, the U.S. Congress proffered the power to reclassify the drug with the attorney general. The power to reclassify was also granted to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), provided the attorney general signs off on the petition to reclassify the drug based on medical and scientific data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The data should be consistent with the argument for reclassification.

While dismissing the petition, which argued that there was no “rational basis” for the Congress to classify Marijuana under Schedule I, Judge Alkin K Hellerstein said, “By framing their claim in terms of the statutory factors outlined in Section 8 l 2(b) (1), plaintiffs’ lawsuit is best understood as a collateral attack on the various administrative determinations not to reclassify marijuana into a different drug schedule.”

“As such, plaintiffs’ claim is barred because plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies,” he added.

The “exhaustion rule” generally implies the plaintiffs to go through all parties and exhaust all “administrative remedies” before moving to the federal courts, which the judge found was not followed in the case.

By approaching the federal court, the petitioners chose to avoid the same fate dealt to previous complaints that challenged the administration agency and lost in 2016, the judge said.

In 2016, a request to reclassify marijuana was denied by the DEA. In a letter to the petitioners, the agency said, “HHS concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”

The federal court judge said he agrees with the previous verdict given by Judge Wolford of the Western District of New York in the United States v. Green case where he said the petition did not challenge the DEA’s decision “to conclude that there is no currently accepted medical use for marijuana” but the constitutional issue is “whether there is any conceivable basis to support the placement of marijuana on the most stringent schedule under the [Controlled Substance Act] CSA.”

In a document stating the verdict, Hellerstein said, “Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim under any constitutional theory, all of plaintiffs’ remaining claims are also dismissed.”

The judge concluded that the “defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint is granted. Plaintiffs have already amended their complaint once, and I find that further amendments would be futile.”



Alexis Bortell, 12, Won’t Let Court Loss Stop Jeff Sessions Medical Pot Fight  (1-27-18)

Last year, then-eleven-year-old Colorado resident and medical marijuana patient Alexis Bortell joined other plaintiffs in a lawsuit against pot-hating Attorney General Jeff Sessions over federal scheduling of cannabis. Yesterday, February 26, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit, but Bortell, now twelve, wasn’t distressed. Shortly after the news went public, a post appeared on her Facebook page reading, “We were ready. Smile. We know #SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the United States] is where we are probably going.”   LINK

The note ended with the hashtags #IStandWithAlexis and #AlexisBortell.


Bipartisan bill offered in House to protect marijuana users in legal weed states

Bipartisan bill offered in House to protect marijuana users in legal weed states

By Lydia Wheeler – 02/15/18 05:19 PM EST

A bipartisan bill was offered in the House on Thursday seeking to circumvent attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage stricter enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal.

Reps. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced the “Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act,” which would mirror a Obama-era memo that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal. Sessions rescinded the memo last month.

The lawmakers say their legislation would protect people from being prosecuted for legal medical and recreational marijuana use.

“To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of cannabis,” Correa said in a statement.

“Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the ‘Cole Memo’ created great uncertainty for these states and legal cannabis businesses, and put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws,” he said.

In rescinding the 2013 directive from then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Sessions did not explicitly call for action, but the move opens the door for federal prosecutors to begin pursuing cases against both businesses that sell weed and residents who use it.

The memo had prioritized other prosecutions ahead of marijuana use offenses.

In a statement, Gaetz called the former memo good policy but bad governance because it was not passed through an act of Congress.

“We are a nation of laws, not department-wide memos. We should not tell prosecutors to ‘pick and choose’ what laws to uphold,” he said. “When federal law conflicts with state laws and the will of the American people, it’s time to change the laws.”


U.S. judge weighs challenge to federal marijuana prohibition

Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday urged a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn the United States’ longstanding prohibition of marijuana, the latest court battle over federal policy under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The argument, before U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan, came about a month after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would abandon a policy of former President Barack Obama that had left regulation of the drug largely up to states.

Several states including, California, Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 29 states allow some medical use.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in July, include the parents of two children who use marijuana to treat illness, and former New York Jets player Marvin Washington, who works with a company that develops marijuana-based products.

They claim that the federal ban on marijuana violates the U.S. Constitution. Under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a “Schedule I” drug, meaning that it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no medical use. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Dolinger, arguing for the government, said federal law did not allow the plaintiffs to challenge the marijuana ban in court. Instead, he said, they must bring a petition through the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The agency process is exhaustive,” he said.

Michael Hiller, lawyer for the plaintiffs, countered that the process was “futile,” and that there was no “rational basis” for marijuana to remain on Schedule I.

One of the children in the lawsuit, Alexis Bortell, successfully treats seizures using the drug, while another, Jagger Cotte, has used it to alleviate pain associated with a neurological condition called Leigh’s Disease, Hiller said.

“I represent people who need cannabis to live,” he said.

Hellerstein expressed sympathy for the plaintiffs during the hearing.

“How could anyone say that your clients’ lives have not been saved by marijuana?” he asked at one point.

However, the judge said he was not sure whether he had the authority to reschedule the drug. He also dismissed Heller’s argument that the prohibition was motivated by political concerns and racism when it was passed.

“The law is the law,” the judge said. “I‘m sworn to enforce the law.”

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


Trump Administration Battles Sick Kids on Access to Legal Pot

By Erik Larson February 14, 2018, 3:56 PM CST

In a New York courtroom packed with cannabis supporters, the Trump administration urged a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit that aims to pave the way for legal marijuana across the country.

The case was brought on behalf of two sick children, a former National Football League player who says athletes deserve a better way to treat head trauma than addictive opioids and the Cannabis Cultural Association. The suit, filed in July 2017, seeks a ruling that marijuana was unconstitutionally labeled alongside heroin and LSD as a so-called Schedule I drug — the harshest of five government ratings — when Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970.

In court on Wednesday, Justice Department attorney Samuel Hilliard Dolinger said the plaintiffs didn’t follow legal requirements before suing, beginning with a petition to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

“The right thing is to defer to the agency,” said U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, an 84-year-old who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, who famously admitted to experimenting with pot while claiming he “didn’t inhale.”

Cannabis legalization has gained momentum in states, even with an unfriendly face in the U.S. Attorney General’s office. Nine states and Washington, D.C., allow adults to use the plant as they wish. More than one in five people can legally eat, drink, smoke or vape, according to state regulations. Twenty additional states have legalized pot for medicinal use.

Trump Interrupts Marijuana’s Path From Taboo to Legit: QuickTake

Hellerstein said he would issue a ruling later, and it was far from clear which way he was leaning. The judge, who had the courtroom erupting in laughter on more than a few occasions during the hearing, was skeptical of the government’s claim that there’s no medical benefit to marijuana.

“Your clients are living proof of the medical effectiveness of marijuana,” Hellerstein said to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Michael Hiller.

The legal cannabis industry is predicted to reach $50 billion in sales by 2026, up from $6 billion in 2016, according to investment bank Cowen & Co. Still, the industry is rife with risk. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded in January the Obama-era policies that ushered in legalization in many states.

The lawsuit has some star power with plaintiff Marvin Washington, who played for the New York Jets. He joined the case because the Controlled Substance Act made him ineligible for grants under the Federal Minority Business Enterprise program, which he planned to use for his medicinal cannabis business.

The suit also highlighted the human toll of the federal government’s war on marijuana with young plaintiffs whose lives have been saved or improved by cannabis, including 11-year-old Alexis Bortell of Colorado and seven-year old Jagger Cotte of Georgia.

Bortell’s epileptic seizures were brought under control by cannabis after her family moved from Texas to Colorado so she could legally use it in that state, according to the suit. Cotte, who suffers from Leigh’s Disease, was able to treat excruciating pain with medicinal marijuana and prolong his life by two years beyond his maximum prognosis, according to the suit.

The complaint notes that American presidents from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama have smoked pot. It also claims the Nixon administration was motivated by ulterior motives when it pushed for the Controlled Substance Act.

Cannabis was criminalized “not to control the spread of a dangerous drug, but rather to suppress the rights and interests of those whom the Nixon Administration wrongly regarded as hostile to the interests of the U.S. — African Americans and protesters of the Vietnam War,” the suit says.

At the hearing, Hellerstein said that argument wasn’t going to work with him.

The decision “will not depend on what may have been in the mind of Richard Nixon at the time,” Hellerstein said.

— With assistance by Jennifer Kaplan


Court hears challenge to federal marijuana laws

Trial begins for advocates suing Sessions and the DEA over …

Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks to the National Sheriffs’ Association

Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks to the National Sheriffs’ Association

Washington, DC


Monday, February 12, 2018

Remarks as prepared for delivery.

Thank you, Jonathan, for that kind introduction.  It’s good to see you again.  I also want to recognize Greg Champagne of St. Charles, Louisiana.
Before I say anything else, I have to acknowledge, with great sadness, that we lost two police officers this weekend.  Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering of Westerville, Ohio were shot to death around noontime Saturday.  Between them they had nearly 40 years of law enforcement service.  I want to join with President Trump in offering my condolences to their families at this difficult time.
It is an honor to be with you this morning.  The National Sheriffs’ Association is one of the biggest law enforcement groups in America—with more than 20,000 members and 75 years of history.
I want to thank you for what you do.  I’ve heard about how you’ve trained more than 1,000 law officers in using narcan—an overdose reversal drug.  You’ve donated thousands of narcan kits across 21 different states.  I’m told that you’ve already reversed hundreds of overdoses. 
I’m pleased to see that my home state of Alabama is well-represented here. We have 14 Alabama sheriffs with us this morning, as well as the long time Executive Director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association, Bobby Timmons.  Thank you all for keeping Alabama safe.
On behalf of President Trump, I am here to say thank you to everyone here for your service to this country.
I know that many of you have met with the President.  You know that he is a strong supporter of law enforcement.
This is an administration that listens to you and that understands this community.  We understand the risks you take and the tools you need to be effective.
I know that sometimes in the past, you haven’t had the support that you deserve.  You’ve had politicians tie your hands with ineffective policies or fail to understand the challenges your deputies face and fail to respect the impact of their work and service.
Let me say this loud and clear: President Trump and I are proud to stand with all of you.
The most important thing that any government does is keep its citizens safe.  The first civil right is the right to be safe.
Too often, politics gets in the way of that mission.
Right now, we’re trying to confirm a number of important component heads at the Department of Justice.  That includes a new head of our Criminal Division, our Civil Rights Division, and our National Security Division.  These are critically important components—and outstanding nominees.  Our nominee to lead the National Security Division was approved unanimously in committee.  But because of one senator’s concerns over unrelated political issues—like legalizing marijuana—we can’t even get a vote.
I’m Attorney General of the United States.  I don’t have the authority to say that something is legal when it is illegal—even if I wanted to.  I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country—like the federal ban on marijuana—does not exist.  Marijuana is illegal in the United States—even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America.
We need our nominees confirmed.  Safety and security are just too important.
Those of gathered here know that protecting the safety and security of the American people is the mission we share.
President Trump understands that law enforcement officers are not the problem—they’re the solution.
I know firsthand the important work that each of you do.  I was a federal prosecutor for 14 years, and during that time, I was blessed to partner every day with federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to protect people’s rights.  We might have been a small U.S. Attorney’s office in Mobile, Alabama, but we worked closely with our Sheriffs and took tons of drugs off our streets, dismantled domestic and international fraud schemes, and we prosecuted civil rights offenders to the fullest extent possible.  There is nothing I am more proud of that noble work.
I know that each of you has that same kind of satisfaction as your serve your people.
You are the thin blue line that stands between law-abiding people and criminals – between sanctity and lawlessness.  You protect our families, our communities, and secure our country from drugs and violence.  The people of this country appreciate what you do.  Last summer, Gallup released their annual poll, which showed that overall confidence in the law enforcement rose significantly last year.  That is a testament to the work you do every day.
I’m not sure if you all saw this, but there was a survey recently that showed that more and more of our young people want to go into law enforcement.  According to the survey, it used to be the number 10 dream job for kids under 12.  Now it’s number three overall—and for boys it’s number one.  Athletes dropped while more and more want to wear the badge.
That tells me that we’re doing something right. I have been hearing law enforcement leaders express grave concerns about recruitment, maybe we have turned the corner.
It was largely because of officers like you that crime went down in this country for 20 years. It was a long and historic crime decline, murder rates declined by one half and teen use of drugs declined by half.
But over the past two or three years, the country and some leaders lost their focus that led to progress and our work became more difficult. The result: The violent crime rate went up by nearly seven percent from 2014 to 2016.  Robberies went up.  Assaults went up nearly 10 percent.  Rape went up by nearly 11 percent.  Murder shot up by more than 20 percent.  Meanwhile we have suffered the deadliest drug crisis in American history.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that violent crime and drug abuse rose at the same time. I was just reading one of our Department-funded studies that found that nearly a quarter of the increase in homicides is the result of the increase in drug-related homicides.
And that should be no surprise: drug trafficking is an inherently violent business.  If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court.  You collect it by the barrel of a gun.

But as we all know, violent crime statistics and drug overdose rates are not numbers—we’re talking about moms, dads, daughters, spouses, friends, and neighbors.
We will not stand by and watch violence and addiction rise.  Plain and simple, we will not allow the progress made by our women and men in blue over the past two decades to simply slip through our fingers.  We will not cede one community, one block, or one street corner to violent thugs or poison peddlers. We will protect the poor as well as the rich.
As Attorney General, I am committed to combatting violent crime and supporting your work.  I have made it one of our top priorities.
The day I was sworn in as Attorney General, President Trump sent me a simple, straightforward executive order: reduce crime in America.  Not preside over ever-increasing crime rates.  Reduce crime in America.
At the Department of Justice, we embrace that goal.  And you and I know from experience that it can be done.
Some people don’t think it’s possible, but crime rates aren’t like the tides.  Strong law enforcement and prosecutions can bring them down.
It is our goal to bring down violent crime, homicides, opioid prescriptions, and overdose deaths.  These are the explicit
goals we’ve established.
And over the past year, we have taken action to reach these goals.  In 2017, the Department of Justice brought cases against the greatest number of violent criminals in a quarter of a century.  We charged the most federal firearm prosecutions in a decade.  We also arrested and charged hundreds of people suspected of contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis.
We secured the convictions of nearly 500 human traffickers and 1,200 gang members, and worked with our international allies to arrest or charge more than 4,000 MS-13 members.
MS-13 didn’t like that, by the way.
  The Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division recently testified before Congress that the MS-13 gang leaders back in El Salvador have taken notice of these efforts.  They know that hundreds of their members are now behind bars.  So now they’re trying to send younger and more violent gang members to the United States to replenish their depleted ranks.  But they will not succeed.
That’s one more reason that we are no longer allowing so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions to nullify federal immigration law if they want to receive our law enforcement grants.
It’s not that we want to de-fund these cities and states.  We want them to rethink their policies and start to cooperate with federal law enforcement. I cannot send funds to jurisdictions who won’t meet minimum standards of partnership.
I know that this issue is important to this organization, and I want to thank you for the work that you have done.
I was in Florida last week to discuss our ongoing opioid crisis, and I had the chance to meet with a number of Florida sheriffs.
In working with the National Sheriffs Association, seventeen Florida sheriffs have worked out an agreement with ICE to help them take criminal aliens out of the Sunshine State.  Aliens held by these sheriffs are held under color of federal authority—and that protects these sheriffs from being sued just for doing their jobs.
I want to encourage more of these agreements across America.
By definition, removing criminal aliens from our communities makes us safer. And I want you to consider joining the very effective 287(g) program.
We are already starting to see positive signs of the Trump administration’s approach to crime.  In the first six months of last year, the increase in the murder rate slowed significantly and violent crime actually went down.  Publicly available data for the rest of the year suggest we may see further progress.
These are major accomplishments that benefit the American people.  And we could not have realized them without you—without a strong partnership between our federal team and our state and local law enforcement personnel.
Based on my experience meeting with officers like you, I believe that morale is already up among our law enforcement community. I can feel the difference.  And we have good reason to be encouraged.
Any loss of life is one too many, but it is encouraging that the number of officers killed in the line of duty declined last year and reached its second lowest level in more than half a century.  That’s something that we all should celebrate and be thankful for.
At the Department of Justice we appreciate the service of every single federal agent.  But we are well aware that 85 percent of law enforcement is state, local, and tribal.  Yours are the deputies that have the critical street-level intelligence regarding the criminal element.  Federal officers have the unique capability to follow a case across state borders and even across national borders.  We can reach defendants all over the world.
We want to be a force-multiplier for you.  Our work is most effective when experienced state and local investigators are paired with the resources and expertise of the 15 percent that are our federal law enforcement.
That’s why we have reinstated our equitable sharing program at the Department of Justice.  Civil asset forfeiture is a key tool that helps law enforcement defund organized crime, take back ill-gotten gains, and prevent new crimes from being committed.  It weakens the criminals and the cartels.  Civil asset forfeiture takes the material support of the criminals and makes it the material support of law enforcement. In departments across this country, funds that were once used to take lives are now being used to save lives. And there is nothing wrong with adoptive forfeitures. There can be no federal adoption if the forfeiture is not called for under federal law. In many cases, adoptive forfeitures represent great partnerships between federal and state law enforcement.
Criminals should not be permitted to profit from their crimes.
Sheriff Eavenson has been a long-time advocate for this approach, and we’re grateful for his valued advice.

Helping law enforcement do their jobs, helping the police get better, and celebrating the noble, honorable, and challenging work of our law enforcement communities will always be a top priority of President Trump and this Department of Justice. Indeed, his first executive order to us on my first day was to back the men and women in uniform.
Together we can do this.  We can bring down crime and give every American peace of mind.
I want to close by reiterating my deep appreciation and profound thanks to all the women and men of law enforcement – federal, state, local, and tribal.  I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected Sheriff has been seen as the people’s protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and amenable to the people. The Sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.
The work that you do – that you have dedicated your lives to – is essential.  I believe it.  The Department of Justice believes it.  And President Trump believes it.
You can be certain about this: we have your back and you have our thanks.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions


Office of the Attorney General

Updated February 12, 2018


“We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,”


Jeff Sessions’s War on Pot Goes to Court, Attorney General Will Fight 12-Year-Old With Epilepsy

By Kate Sheridan On 1/18/18 at 7:59 AM

Updated | A 12-year-old suing the federal government may have a whiff of adorableness. But for Alexis Bortell, who filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions last fall, it’s a choice she had to make to save her life. Alexis has epilepsy, and Sessions has made it his mission to make it impossible for her to access the only drug that has kept her seizures at bay: cannabis.

A Scream of Terror

Alexis doesn’t remember her first seizure. But her father, Dean Bortell, does.

“We were literally folding clothes, and Alexis was sleeping on the couch,” Bortell told Newsweek. “All of a sudden, I heard her make this shriek—I mean, it was a scream of terror,” he said. “I look over, and Alexis is stiff as a board, on her back, spasming.”

At first, Bortell suspected his daughter had a brain-eating amoeba on account of headlines about them that summer and took her to the hospital. Within hours, it became clear something else was wrong. Alexis was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013.

Three years ago, Alexis began taking medical marijuana, and her seizures disappeared. But that treatment option is threatened by an aggressive federal crackdown on medicinal cannabis led by Sessions, who is also the acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

Her day in court—February 14, at a New York City federal courthouse—is fast approaching. Alexis won’t be there in person, but her lawyer, Michael Hiller, thinks the ruling will go their way.

“We are very optimistic that the case is going to come out the way it should, which is that the Controlled Substances Act is going to be found unconstitutional,” Hiller said. Several other plaintiffs—a former professional football player, a veteran and another child—are also included.


Ron Paul: Jeff Sessions should be fired over marijuana decision

By Alexandra King, CNN   Updated 9:00 AM ET, Sun January 7, 2018

(CNN)Ron Paul, the former GOP congressman and onetime presidential candidate, called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down Saturday after he moved this week to rescind the Obama-era policy of restricting federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal.

Sessions’ action essentially shifts federal policy from the hands-off approach adopted under the Obama administration to unleashing federal prosecutors to decide individually how to prioritize resources to crack down on pot possession, distribution and cultivation of the drug in those states.

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-two states also allow some form of medical marijuana, and 15 allow a lesser medical marijuana extract.

Paul told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that Americans should have a choice on marijuana use, and he called Sessions’ actions “unconstitutional.”

    “He represents something that is so un-American, as far as I’m concerned,” the Texas libertarian said.

    “The war on drugs, to me, is a war on liberty. I think that we overly concentrate on the issue of the drug itself, and I concentrate on the issue of freedom of choice, on doing things that are of high risk,” he said. “And we permit high risk all the time. … Generally, we allow people to eat what they want, and that is very risky. But we do overly concentrate on what people put into their bodies.”

    Paul called the war on drugs a “totally illegal system.”

    “Just because you legalize something doesn’t mean everyone’s going to do it, and then if you look at the consequences, of the war? Why don’t the people just look and read and study Prohibition? … (a) total failure. And the war on drugs is every bit as bad and worse,” he said.

    “People should have the right or responsibility of dealing with what is dangerous,” Paul insisted. “Once you get into this thing about government is going to protect us against ourselves, there’s no protection of liberty.”

    However, he said, he didn’t expect Sessions to be successful.

    “I predict that Sessions is not going to be victorious on this,” Paul told Smerconish.

    “And unfortunately, it’s for reasons that I don’t get excited about. It’s because the states want to collect all of those taxes (on marijuana), so it becomes this tax issue,” he said.


    Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement 1/4/2018

    Department of Justice

    Office of Public Affairs


    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement

    The Department of Justice today issued a memo on federal marijuana enforcement policy announcing a return to the rule of law and the rescission of previous guidance documents. Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

    In the memorandum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.

    “It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”


    Download Marijuana Enforcement 1.4.18


    Office of the Attorney General

    Press Release Number:


    Updated January 4, 2018