What on earth is happening in America? On Monday 1st January, California became the eighth state to fully legalise the weed, but by Thursday 4th January, the US Attorney General effectively reversed the Obama-era ruling that allowed state level legalisation to proceed in the first place. Dr John Dee
For those of you who don’t know this stuff, while a number of states have legalised or decriminalised weed, it’s still very much an offence at Federal (i.e. big government) level. This has understandably caused some friction between state law and federal law. In an attempt at smoothing this out, back in 2013 something called The Cole Memo was released. This was the work of the (then) Deputy Attorney General, Jim Cole, and basically instructed federal prosecutors not to interfere with cannabis laws at state level. Pretty much, “butt out and let them get on with it”.
Now, what we have is the Cole Memo being overturned by the current AG – Jeff Sessions – therefore allowing federal prosecutors to recommence prosecutions, while not expressly saying who or what might be prosecuted beyond the vaguely chilling statement that the move represents “a return to the rule of law”.
So far, federal offices in a couple of the legal states have issued statements saying they’ve no plans to change how they prosecute cannabis; at the moment they don’t prosecute, quite rightly preferring to go with “the will of the people” on the matter. However, this could of course all change in the blink of an eye in the event of a staff reshuffle. Replace someone seen as too liberal with your 1950’s reefer madness zealot and the whole thing comes unstuck.
Bipolar doesn’t begin to cover it.
Mr Sessions certainly seems to have a major problem with the weed, and is an old school anti marijuana extremist in the Harry Anslinger mould. He has publicly stated in the past that using cannabis “is bad for people”, that “good people don’t use cannabis” and other such nonsense.
I’ve written about him here in the past, but it’s worth repeating a couple of points about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions: he’s one of these deeply conservative Republicans (so he reckons he’s a Christian) who is anti abortion, anti immigration, anti same-sex marriage. He seems to seriously believe that marijuana is indeed “the weed with roots in Hell”, and is once supposed to have said that he liked the KKK until he found out that some of them smoked dope.
Not a particularly nice guy.
I suppose his single mindedness about all of this might be seen as admirable in some circles, but it’s not. What it actually is, is ignorant and pig headed. The man has clearly not looked at a scrap of the scientific evidence regarding weed that’s appeared over the past decade or so, and he’s clearly way out of touch with what’s going on in the real world; even a number of his Republican mates seem uncomfortable and embarrassed by him.
It has been said by many people that the key to everything AG Sessions does around cannabis has nothing to do with personal belief and everything to do with money. He supposedly has interests in the private prison system, so keeping low level lawbreakers (e.g. stoners) inside means full prisons which in turn keeps the investors’ bank accounts full.
It’s also been said that there is a Big Pharma connection as well. There always seems to be a Big Pharma connection.
Whatever the reason for all of this, the fact is that the Trump administration has blatantly reneged on their promise to allow each state to handle cannabis legislation free from federal interference.
One can only assume that a good number of Trump’s supporters use weed either medically or recreationally. One can only hope that they remember all of this come the next election.