In a meeting with reporters earlier this week, new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had more to say about marijuana, especially about states where voters have decided to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
“I am definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” Sessions said. “But states, they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say, it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”
There is no doubt that the new AG is leaving the door open for as much enforcement of federal marijuana laws as he feels like undertaking. Taken in conjunction with Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments last week about greater marijuana “enforcement,” Sessions stance is discouraging indeed.
“Most of you probably know I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,” Sessions told reporters. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago.”
“We’re seeing real violence around that [legalization],” Sessions said. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”
The ironic thing about that last statement is that the only violence that is “around marijuana” is created specifically by its prohibition. Al Capone rose to fame and fortune under alcohol prohibition but when’s the last time have you heard of hitmen from Anheuser-Busch taking out some sales reps from Coors? The risk that comes from prohibition makes marijuana much more valuable than it otherwise would be; when something is illegal and profitable, violence as a means of settling disputes becomes an obvious option.
It’s clear that Jeff Sessions has very little knowledge about marijuana or the effects of its prohibition. That’s not a huge problem when it’s Joe Sixpack on the street, but this is the man with the ultimate power over the course of cannabis legalization in the U.S.
So the question then becomes, how do we educate our new AG? There is the unlikely possibility that someone close to Sessions, whom he trusts, will explain the facts to him, but that’s not what we should hang our hopes on.
The only things you can do for the next four years are:
- Make your voice heard by every available means: phone call, email, social media, text, Facebook message, gif, meme, rally, march, telegraph and carrier pigeon. The louder our voices speak out, the greater chance of someone with power hearing us.
- Support all efforts by the states to resist federal pressure on marijuana laws. Dozens of lawmakers and officials have already come out and said they will stand in the way of any federal crackdown on legal marijuana. Those officials are the last line of defense when it comes to stopping a federal assault.