Bipartisan Political Backlash Against Jeff Sessions’ Memo Heats Up


Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions certainly knows how to create a bipartisan consensus.

After last week’s announcement by AG Sessions, requesting local prosecutors return to the old days of handing out the harshest drug sentences possible, more than a few congressional members spoke out against the Atty. Gen.’s proposed guidelines.

Per the 2013 Holder memo, Obama’s AG requested local district attorneys rethink how they charge certain drug-related activities. Not interested in stuffing the for-profit prison system with low-level drug offenders, Holder requested local prosecutors reconsider mandatory minimum sentencing for defendants not connected to criminal organizations.

A lot has changed since then.

Under Sessions’ new charging policy, summarized in a two-page document, local prosecutors and assistant AGs in Washington are to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”

Calling the new policy “dumb on crime,” the former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder received strong support from both sides of the political aisle:

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT):

“To be tough on crime we have to be smart on crime. That is why criminal justice reform is a conservative issue.”

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA):

“Jeff Sessions wants to turn back the clock on the progress we’ve made on sentencing reform—and we must speak out against it.”

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX):

“Trump/Sessions: Let’s double down on failed strategy, add to highest incarceration rate in the world. America: Let’s end the war on drugs.”

Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI):

“Let’s pass criminal justice reform to put an end to this unjust, ineffective, and costly policy.”

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC):

“Will fight AG Sessions’ effort to revive failed War on Drugs. Mass incarceration has destroyed lives and devastated our minority communities.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA):

“As President Trump distracts with outlandish threats, AG Sessions quietly brings back the harshest sentences of the failed War on Drugs.”

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):

“Mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated too many minorities for too long. Attorney General Sessions’ new policy will accentuate that injustice.”

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT):

“The Attorney General’s new sentencing policy is an ideologically motivated attempt to resurrect the failed policies of the War on Drugs. Make no mistake, low-level offenders will spend years and even decades more in prison. This will not make us safer — quite the opposite, it will strip critical public safety resources away from targeting truly violent criminals in order to house nonviolent drug offenders.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL):

“This policy shift flies in the face of the growing bipartisan consensus that we need to reduce—not increase—the length of prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. It will send already skyrocketing prison costs even higher, undermining other important public safety priorities and separating nonviolent drug offenders from their families for years, which has a destructive effect on communities and erodes faith in our criminal justice system.”

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN):

“Sessions’ memorandum is a return to the failed policies of the War on Drugs. It is bad for our communities, and utterly destructive for low-level, non-violent drug offenders. The only people who benefit from these laws are those who have a financial stake in imprisonment: the private prison industry and vendors to the public system.”

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN):

“Harsher sentences for non-violent drug crimes cost taxpayers more money and waste limited resources that are needed to go after more dangerous, violent offenders who put the public at risk. The beneficiaries of these policies are often private prisons who profit from locking up more inmates, disproportionately affecting people of color.”

Creating only a few exceptions to the harshest penalties possible, the Sessions’ memo notes any leniency must be approved by a U.S. attorney, assistant attorney general or their supervisor.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.


  1. Danny Hardin on

    Out of touch with reality! I can think of 2 people that should be considered for impeachment. No need to mention names, I think the majority of people know whom I’m talking about. Wake up, this is not the 1940’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s. We are living with so much more knowledge and understanding on illnesses, therapy, the trade off between benefits and side effects/long term use damage. People using MJ to medicate, many of them understand the trade offs, what they are putting into their bodies, how the substance affects them. People do not need some inexperienced know it all (Sessions) telling people of the U.S., B.S. about something that many people know better. American people are tired of the lies fed to us by the “Just Say No” movement. You can fool us once, but don’t try to fool us twice. Sessions, you are out of touch with reality and should be more considerate of others in the US in need a medical alternative to all the prescription medications that are damaging, shorten life from side effects, are addictive, and costly.

    Dangerous medications are being pushed by pharmaceutical companies. doctors have limited options to choose from for treatment because of government regulations, I have sever chronic pain and it’s difficult to find a doctor that will treat my pain with medication because the federal government has caused so much fear for doctors afraid to loose their license from treating their patients with pain medication. I’m not a surgery candidate (too risky). Medical MJ is the treatment I’m willing to try because all options have been exhausted. I’m sure there any many other people in the US that face the same issue as I.

    Stand up and preserve the one treatment option that remain for many of us that have unsuccessfully found treatment VIA other means. Stand up and replace those in government offices that are trying so hard to limit our treatment options even more!

    • Let’s just lock everyone up in the US so the corporate profiteers don’t have to pay them sub-standard wages anymore. These cucks have all lost their minds! I’ll give an example of how STUPID these idiots really are, they say it’s illegal to drink and drive, but there’s a parking lot in front of every single bar. Talk about hypocrisy.

  2. We have come to far. No turning back the clock now JS. We will rise up if you start to go backwards, It will get ugly. Don’t do it. States rights and lets move on.

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