Oppose Jeff Sessions: The Biggest Threats To Sessions’ Anti-Weed Stance
One of the things that makes the current political climate tolerable is the ability to temporarily put reality on hold with the aid of state legalized marijuana. On January 4, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions put this escape mechanism in jeopardy when he rolled back the Cole Memo, which prevents federal interference in states where marijuana is legal. But who dares to oppose Jeff Sessions?
The answer: just about everyone. The threats to Sessions’ militant anti-marijuana posturing come from all angles, and his latest attempt to squash progress may prove to be the death knell to federal prohibition altogether. Who are the key players in the fight to #stopsessions, and how can you help?
In a surprising move of bipartisan unity, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers oppose Jeff Sessions on this decision. Luckily for them, the U.S. Attorney General is the chief lawyer—not the chief lawmaker. The greatest threat to the Reefer Madness-minded Sessions comes from the people who actually make the laws in America, i.e. members of the U.S. Congress. Here are some of our picks for top troublemakers in the political arena.
Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire)
An opioid crisis grips the United States, and mounting scientific evidence points to marijuana as a viable medical treatment. Shaheen’s official statement leaves no gray area on how the Senator plans to approach Sessions’ decision. “As the leading Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Justice Department, I will work to ensure that resources are devoted to opioid response efforts, rather than this foolish policy.”
Cory Gardner (R-Colorado)
In the immediate wake of Sessions’ decision, the Colorado Senator threatened to withhold any Department of Justice nominees until the Attorney General changed his stance. Gardner also keeps his constituents in mind: Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana and will be greatly affected by expressly sanctioned and widespread federal law enforcement interference.
Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)
From the other side of the political spectrum comes known marijuana advocate Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey. His state is likely to legalize recreational marijuana later this year (medical weed is already legal), and he was one of the first to oppose Jeff Sessions in an official statement. Booker also co-sponsors the CARERS (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States) Act, which would change marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug, along with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
A major tenant of Republican policies is that states should determine how to govern themselves, and Murkowski took Sessions’ action both personally and politically. The Republican Senator from Alaska tweeted that she had “repeatedly discouraged Sessions from taking this action” and views his move as “disruptive to state regulatory regimes.” Murkowski co-sponsors the CARERS Act and governs a state where both recreational and medicinal marijuana is legal.
Cold Hard Cash
Reuters reported that the U.S. budget deficit for the fiscal year 2017 was $666 billion, and this number seems to increase with each passing day. Recreational marijuana has been a real tax revenue machine for places where it is legalized, and with the world’s sixth-largest economy (California) entering the recreational fray in 2018, it may become financially irresistible to keep marijuana prohibited on a federal level.
Since January 2014, Colorado has collected over half a billion dollars in taxes from its recreational marijuana industry. Washington state collected over a quarter of a billion dollars in tax revenue in 2016, and Oregon brought home around $60 million in taxes. California’s medical marijuana industry already generates more than recreational markets in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington states combined so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact this large of a tax revenue stream will have on Sessions’ decision.
With a global market worth projected to top $30 billion by 2021, the marijuana industry is nothing to be trifled with—not even by the federal government. Republicans love big business just as much as they love states’ rights, and it would have done Sessions well to remember that before attacking this burgeoning business sector.
Small though one person may be, every raindrop helps cause a flood. If you’re feeling the urge to #stopsessions, there are concrete actions you can take to voice your displeasure (or downright disgust). Many people did not see him fit to serve as the U.S. Attorney General in the first place, and his appointment was met with more than one petition to impeach Jeff Sessions. Sessions boasts a long track record of racially-motivated political moves, and his involvement with the Trump-Russian election collusion scandal makes him highly susceptible to public outcry.
If you’re wondering who to call to oppose Jeff Sessions, look no further than the White House website. Reaching out directly to your congressional representatives via phone, email, or fax will let your displeasure be known to the lawmakers who are the greatest threat to Sessions’ continued tomfoolery.
Mid-term congressional elections are on the horizon in 2018. One way to make sure there’s more green in the legislative branch is to educate yourself on the candidates and get out and vote.
Or you could take a page from Alexis Bortell’s playbook. In 2017, 12-year-old Bortell sued not only Sessions but the entire Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency because they restricted her access to medically necessary CBD, which she uses to control epileptic seizures.
Could Sessions Be His Own Worst Enemy?
Despite some evidence otherwise, Sessions is still a human, and oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy. By locking himself into a rigid and rigged political agenda, he may push marijuana prohibition beyond its breaking point. One wonders if the person to oppose Jeff Sessions the most is, in fact, Jess Sessions himself. Lacking the foresight to see beyond black and white may finally push marijuana prohibition past the point of no return.
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