Like a Confederate soldier who kept fighting long after the war ended—actually, that too—Attorney General Jeff Sessions has kept up his myopic contention that marijuana is the devil’s plant, to the extent that he is now rescinding an Obama-era policy that discouraged the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it. Of course, 64 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana (including half of Republicans polled by Gallup), which is, coincidentally, the exact percentage of Jeff Sessions’s brain that is limited to cartoon replays of two southern gentlemen slapping each other with gloves.
Instead, according to the Associated Press, sources say that Sessions will let federal prosecutors in states where pot is legal decide how to enforce federal law, under which cannabis remains illegal. What this means remains to be seen—from the Washington Post:
In practice, that meant U.S. attorneys in jurisdictions that had legalized marijuana at the state level were often reluctant to bring marijuana cases — though Cole’s memo stressed that Congress had determined it to be an illegal drug that provided significant revenue to gangs. They might now be more willing to consider such prosecutions — though they will still potentially have to contend with jurors sympathetic to defendants whose conduct would not be illegal under state law.
Both Jeff Sessions and the DEA consider marijuana in the same category as heroin, because both Jeff Sessions and the DEA have a knack for disregarding facts and research. This happened, by the way, just two days after California became the sixth state to sell recreational marijuana, officially entering a booming industry that’s projected to create more jobs than manufacturing by 2020. Sessions, meanwhile, is of the opinion that even medical marijuana is “hyped, maybe too much.”
From the Associated Press:
Marijuana advocates quickly condemned Sessions’ move as a return to outdated drug-war policies that unduly affected minorities.
Sessions “wants to maintain a system that has led to tremendous injustice ... and that has wasted federal resources on a huge scale,” said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “If Sessions thinks that makes sense in terms of prosecutorial priorities, he is in a very bizarre ideological state, or a deeply problematic one.”
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, whose home state of Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana and has since generated $200 million in tax revenue for the state, has threatened to hold up Justice Department nominees in response to Sessions’s reported move, tweeting that the Attorney General had promised prior to his confirmation not to touch the Obama-era policy.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose home state of Alaska has legalized recreational weed, also released a statement attacking the reported plan.
“Over the past year I repeatedly discouraged Attorney General Sessions from taking this action and asked that he work with the states and Congress if he feels changes are necessary,” Murkowski wrote. “Today’s announcement is disruptive to state regulatory regimes and regrettable.”
A bipartisan group of senators had previously partnered to boost medical marijuana access in the face of Sessions’ crackdown, and Rand Paul (obviously) has said “there’s no reason” to have a federal law on marijuana use. Again—just to be clear—it doesn’t seem like anyone really wanted this except Jeff Sessions and a few other questionably motivated elderly men he consulted. Which is, in the world of Jeff Sessions, precisely how things are supposed to work.