Oh, Jeff Sessions. It’s no secret that former-Alabama-Senator-turned-Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has the legal cannabis world more nervous than Jurassic Park Jello.
At his confirmation hearing in February, Sessions slammed states’ rights to legalize, effectively targeting legal weed before ever taking his seat as the nation’s most general attorney.
Less than a year later, in a letter dated May 1, 2017, he was already asking congressional leaders to overturn federal medical-marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014.
Those protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal dollars to keep states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."
In a country experiencing rampant national debt, eminent threats from foreign nuclear powers, a pitiful public education system, and a crushing dissolution of the middle class, it all leads some to one important question.
Doesn’t Jeff Sessions have anything better to worry about than pot smokers?
Apparently not, because he continues to voice some flicted statements about weed. Here are just a few.
1. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”
Carl Sagan. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Sir Richard Branson. My mom. The list would probably be even longer if there wasn’t still a ‘Reefer Madness’ attitude towards cannabis lingering due to weed’s illegality. Just know that plenty of good people smoke marijuana.
2. “The KKK was OK until I found out they smoked pot”
Sigh. Perhaps, this one should just be tucked away in the Face Palm file. Apparently this statement was made in jest, as a (really) bad joke allegedly made in reference to Session’s intense hated of the ganja.
CNN reported in January that when Sessions made the statement (in the 1980s) as the US attorney in Mobile, he was prosecuting a case against two Ku Klux Klan members who kidnapped and brutally murdered a black man. According to a fellow prosecutor in the room, the informal statement was made, and received at the time, as a joke.
Joke or not, that little ditty, along with other racist comments, cost Sessions a federal judgeship in 1986.
3. "You can't have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink… It is different… It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal."
Sorry Jeff, but there’s an overwhelming amount of data that shows the sky falling heralded by anti-pot activists never happened, and probably never will.
The reduction in marijuana arrests was cut in half, or reduced by as much as a 98 percent in those states “saving those jurisdictions millions of dollars and preventing the criminalization of thousands of people,” reports the Drug Policy Alliance.
Traffic fatalities saw no increase according to recent data from the Cato Institute.
And in the last few years, recreational marijuana brought in $129 million in taxes in Colorado and $220 million in Washington, mostly slated for education.
4. "I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana.”
Not only is cannabis increasingly being used as a way for healthcare professionals to help those addicted to heroin and painkillers slowly wean themselves off fatal drugs, there is clinical evidence that marijuana can actually heal the brain damage caused heroin.
"We found that [cannabis compound cannabidiol] reversed the impairments caused by heroin, for example, on the glutamatergic receptors," Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine told CNN.
Hurd’s studies also found that cannabis compounds reversed damage to the cannabinoid receptors themselves caused by heroin, while activating the serotonin system, which can be crucial to overcoming substance addiction.
5. "We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized... that it is, in fact, a very real danger."
Another lovely nug of wisdom from Sessions’ confirmation hearing, the then-Senator apparently didn’t get the memo about the 29 states that have legalized cannabis is some form or another — including his home state of Alabama, which allows for the limited use of some medical CBD products for patients. Eight of those states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Another nine states are expected to further reform their MJ laws next year.
He apparently also didn’t get the memo that the legal weed industry will rake in $20.2 billion — and create more than a quarter of a million jobs — by 2021, inventing one of the biggest American industries in history.
That’s a lot of ‘children’ in state government making a lot of money that stays right here in America, Mr. Sessions.