Should legal marijuana advocates fear the DOJ under the helm of Jeff Sessions? I am certainly not the first person to ask this question and from what I can gather in the way of answers, it’s complicated. The industry is looking at possibilities that range from at best the DOJ doing as it did under Obama’s administration or at worst a full crackdown regardless of state’s rights.
Today marks yet another defeat for rational people against government overreach and ineptitude with the confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Betsy DeVos is frighteningly ill equipped to be in charge of the Department of education, her hearings showed that, and yet she was still confirmed. Her confirmation and that of many of the administration’s cabinet picks who are similarly ill prepared show us who our representatives are really representing and here’s a clue: it isn’t us. However, one confirmation shows us exactly what is valued in this new and uncertain administration, loyalty, and that is Jeff Sessions.
Jeff Sessions was among the first to come out in support of the face of what is now the most turbulent administration in my lifetime. His confirmation along with the others reveals just how divided our lawmakers are and that is reflective of the country as a whole. It also shows us how badly damaged our democracy is and here is why marijuana advocates should care. When senators, regardless of party, come out in favor of policies and cabinet appointments that voters they are supposed to represent are opposed to we have a crisis of representation. Congressional phone lines have continuously been jammed for weeks from voters desperately trying to get their elected representatives to vote against confirming unqualified people. In the case of Jeff Sessions that meant trying desperately to avoid confirming someone who is outspokenly against marijuana and has at the very least a shaky past with Civil Rights.
So what does the confirmation of Sessions mean for legal marijuana? It means the best we can hope for is that no one in the Executive Branch of government decides to go after the states that have legalized it. I would not count on that. The President has said he is for medical marijuana but not recreational and the fact is many of the states that have legalized it for both medical and recreational use voted for his opponent in the election. With any other election and any other sane politician, I would have said that doesn’t matter but in this case I can’t say for sure. What I can say is this Jeff Sessions does pose a very real threat to the marijuana industry and should be taken seriously. He believes that only bad people use marijuana, even though that has never been proven.
So what can we do? For starters if your state has medical marijuana remind your elected officials of the number of jobs created, the revenue brought into the state, and the right of states to determine their own policies. Be willing to take the time to write to your representatives and/or call them. If you live in Nevada and want to make a big change that will help our state, then there is a big thing you can do. Senator Dean Heller is running to keep his senate seat in 2018. He voted to approve Jeff Sessions against the wishes of Nevadans and against his own state’s interests. We need to support anyone who runs against him that will represent the interests of the state and its people before party allegiance. Fight for your right to keep a reliable and effective treatment.