Roger Stone Wants to 'Crush Jeff Sessions'

Republican strategist and avowed agent provocateur Roger Stone was one of the most vocal supporters of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. However, now he finds himself at odds with the presidential administration on one key issue: marijuana.


Stone, a legalization proponent who ironically memorialized drug war icon Richard Nixon with a back tattoo, was barred from speaking at a cannabis business exposition amid backlash from certain industry groups earlier this month. And his calls for federal marijuana reform have been met with skepticism by some advocates, who question his influence over the president and a Justice Department that seems eager to intervene in states where marijuana is legal.

But on Friday, Stone cast critics in the movement aside and vowed to lead a bipartisan effort to ensure that state marijuana laws would be protected under the Trump administration. Speaking to a small crowd inside the Alchemy Vape Lounge in downtown Los Angeles, Stone said he would unite lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to keep the Justice Department out of legal marijuana states and push for marijuana rescheduling.


"I know that, having spoken to the president myself and having worked with him on his position on this issue during the campaign, that he is a supporter of states' rights on the question of legalized marijuana and continued access," Stone told ATTN:. "It's [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions who's out of step. It's not the president who's out of step."

States that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes have always operated in a legal gray area. Federal law strictly prohibits cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, which places marijuana next to drugs like heroin in terms of medical usefulness and potential for abuse. Since Sessions, who adamantly opposes marijuana reform, took over the Justice Department, the fate of legal states has become even murkier.

Though Trump has pledged to protect states medical marijuana laws, Sessions' intentions remain unclear. He launched a task force in April that was meant to review existing state marijuana programs to guide federal policy, and he's hinted at expanding the list of circumstances under which the Justice Department could use federal funds to enforce prohibition in legal states.

Protections to prevent the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce prohibition in legal states have been in place, and renewed each year, since 2014. They had been under threat under the current administration until Trump included them in a temporary budget deal with Democrats.

Stone said Sessions "went and lobbied individual members of the committee not to allow the attachment," but that fell through when Trump struck a deal with Democratic leaders this week, which included the marijuana protections in a three-month budget deal tied to funds for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

That means "I have until December to crush Jeff Sessions and his crazy fucking idea," Stone said.

"The president has to order Sessions—and [White House chief of staff John] Kelly, who's also a big drug warrior—to knock it off," he said. "This is not what the people voted for. This is not the position the president took during the campaign. I think I can do that."