Sessions Continues War against Legal Weed
Attorney General (AG), Jeff Sessions, is very vocal about his dislike for marijuana, but especially recreational marijuana (legal weed). In a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, Sessions stepped back his rhetoric, saying that pot is not as harmful as heroin, but still said that he wasn’t optimistic that more research and analysis would change his mind. So, what’s holding him back?
The Rohrabacher-Farr Act
There is a legal reason why AG Sessions does not crack down on the states that have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana. In 2015, Congress defunded any operations that go after companies and individuals in states that have legalized it by passing Rohrabacher-Farr. However, that could end on December 8th of this year, when the Bill comes up for renewal.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote in his letter.
According to DEA Chief Administration Law Judge, Francis L. Young, “Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis, marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”
There is also mounting evidence that legal weed is decreasing opioid-related deaths in states that have legalized it. A recent study in Colorado concluded a reversal of an upward trend in opioid-related deaths, but the same research should be replicated in other states to strengthen the conclusion further.
We all know Sessions is a conservative, old-fashioned man with outdated ideas, however, he cannot just ignore the will of the voters that he represents— but he does. He also cannot just spew his opinions about a miracle plant that has changed the lives of millions of people— but he does. Even Veterans have asked the government to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA. So whose side is Sessions on? Apparently, not the side of the people.
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Who Benefits from Marijuana Prohibition?
It is a well-known fact that lobbyists run Washington. Many industries have a dedicated team of lawyers that relentlessly convince our lawmakers that their rights are more important than anyone else’s. That means corporations, not the people, have the attention of our lawmakers. And that is precisely why Congress has such low approval ratings; because they don’t represent your interests.
The primary beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition are Big Pharma, the Prison-Industrial-Complex, alcoholic beverage manufacturers, and the drug cartels. The first three industries can be very loud in DC with their lobbyists; however, the drug cartels just benefit from the ignorance of our lawmakers. There is growing evidence that legal weed is killing drug cartels, so isn’t that a good thing?
The Controlled Substance Act (CSA)
Why was the CSA created, and what is the logic behind having marijuana as a schedule I drug? Politics. According to a top advisor in the Nixon Administration, the CSA was enacted to go after the enemies of the administration, which were the antiwar left (hippies) and blacks. So that’s the reason, not science. Like so many other issues in our world, decisions are based on politics and not reality.
Congress should repeal the CSA and the war on drugs, which is a complete failure. At a minimum, Congress should remove marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA, which has been put there for nothing more than political reasons. With the majority of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana, and with a thriving industry that is fueling innovation and creating jobs, it is a strange battle to take up.
Let’s just hope Congress includes the language in Rohrabacher-Farr when it comes up for a vote on December 8th. Voice your concerns here and Urge your U.S. Representative to support ending federal marijuana prohibition.
Legalization Efforts across the Country
Kentucky: It looks like Kentucky is about to get medical marijuana. Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Grimes, has recently stated that medical cannabis could be available in the state in 2018. If you are in Kentucky and what to voice your support for medical marijuana, you can do so here.
Ohio: 370 applications to operate 60 medical marijuana dispensaries was received by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. The board said that the state should see them operational within a year’s time.
Wyoming: Wyoming has one of the most draconian laws on marijuana possession. However, they are surrounded by states that have legalized it. Moreover, marijuana is being consumed in many different varieties, and they fear that they are turning their citizens into felons. As a reaction to this, Wyoming is attempting to update their laws. However, they should just decriminalize it. Voice your support here.
In other news, one of the doctors that concluded that an 11-month-old baby died from marijuana has retracted the conclusion. Read more here.