06.13.2017
policy

Jeff Sessions Begs Congress To Let Him Go After Legal Weed

Frothing at the mouth with a hatred for all that is weedy, the Attorney General drafted a letter to Congress seeking funds to take on legal marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to reverse federal protections for state medical marijuana organizations that have been in place since 2014. Sessions’ request came via a personal letter drafted by the Attorney General and seeks to roll back what is known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. The amendment was enacted by former President Barack Obama and prohibits the Justice Department from utilizing federal funds to go after state compliant medical marijuana firms or to block the creation of new state medical marijuana laws.

From Attorney General Sessions’ letter to Congress: (full letter embedded below)

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

The letter was first obtained by journalist Tom Angell of MassRoots and later verified by The Washington Post.

In the correspondence, Sessions misguidedly cites the opioid and heroin epidemic currently tearing apart communities and claiming the lives of thousands of people in all parts of the country. His argument, however, that a crackdown on legal marijuana would actually put a dent in or slow the drug crisis is complete balderdash, is not based in fact, and could potentially worsen the opiate epidemic. To be sure, data exists showing a measurable decrease in opioid abuse and overdoses in states where medical marijuana laws were enacted.

John Hudak of the Brookings Institution called Sessions’ letter a “scare tactic,” and told The Washington Post that it “could appeal to rank-and-file members or to committee chairs in Congress in ways that could threaten the future of this Amendment." 

The letter, along with Sessions’ vendetta against legal marijuana programs, are at odds with President Trump’s campaign-stated support for medical marijuana and previous acknowledgment of the drug’s validity as a medicinal treatment.

In his letter, Sessions makes reference to organized crime groups classified by racial orientation––Cuban, Asian, Caucasian, and Eurasion––and says the forming of such mafia-esque enterprises can be directly linked to illegal marijuana production and trafficking. Similarly, President Trump has expressed that he will follow through on campaign pledges to slow the opening of trade and tourism between the U.S. and Cuba; and previously laid out an immigration plan involving expedited deportations. It wouldn’t be without reason to consider the possibility of Sessions’ proposed crackdown on drug crimes as a means of speeding up Trump's immigration agenda.

Regardless of Sessions’ qualms with legal chronic, in May the Attorney General was effectively denied any federal funding to go after state medical marijuana programs after Congress agreed on a spending budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. Which, for now, should keep the weed-hater at bay.


 

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