Sessions vs. the green states


Photo illustration by Jack Lambert.

Eric Rosane, News Editor

Photo illustration by Jack Lambert.

Over the summer, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made several false accusations against the states of Washington and Colorado on the basis of the way the state is managing its marijuana distribution and operations. His statistics were later proved false by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General of Washington State Robert Ferguson. Session’s also falsely attributed the state’s legalization of marijuana to an increase in minors using marijuana.

“These findings are relevant to the the policy debate concerning marijuana legalization… please advise as to how Colorado plans to address the serious findings in the Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) report, including efforts to ensure that all marijuana activity is compliant with state marijuana laws, to combat diversion of marijuana, to protect public health and safety, and to prevent marijuana use by minors,” Sessions said in a letter to Colorado.

Sessions, in his earlier letter to Washington, pulled facts from the same family of sources; the Northwest HIDTA. These organizations, founded by the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, aim at assisting enforcement of laws against Schedule-1 drugs, such as marijuana and methamphetamines, on a federal, state, local and tribal level.

Inslee, Ferguson and four other lawmakers then fired back another letter on August 15, in response to Session’s July 24 letter. In the letter signed by Inslee and penned by Ferguson, the two break down the arguments that Sessions had previously made on the state, saying that the HIDTA reports are, for the most part, an outdated source that ineffectively take into account the laws and regulations put in by the state legislature.

“Your letter repeatedly fails to distinguish between marijuana activity that is legal and illegal under state law. Instead, it conflates the two in a manner that implies that state-legal marijuana activity is responsible for harms actually caused by illegal marijuana activity,” Ferguson said, in his letter to Sessions.

Ferguson and Inslee later in the letter confronted another allegation that Session’s had made based on HIDTA studies. The report in question was from the Northwest HIDTA bureau that stated that there had been 17 explosions at THC extraction labs that were examined, in a later report, and found to have been using methods that were not up to code of the marijuana extraction standards.

“That is true. Your letter, however, fails to clearly acknowledge that none of these explosions were at labs operating legally under state license. Legal extraction labs are required to use equipment certified by an engineer, and to be inspected by the fire marshal. In the history of our licensing system, no legal extraction lab has ever had an explosion,” Ferguson penned.

On August 23, four Washington state senators and lawmakers that deal heavily with state reformation and recreation/medicinal policies, penned their own letter to Sessions in support of Inslee and Ferguson’s initiative.

The four lawmakers, two of which are republicans, continued to disprove Session’s allegations of the apparent ill-regulated state of Washington, reiterating the sheer amount of hard work that the bi-partisan legislation is making towards keeping both recreational and medicinal marijuana heavily regulated.