How does one explain the tortured logic of a malevolent Slingblade Hobbit?
I’m talking about the Attorney General of the United States (for now) and demented love child of Forrest Gump and a Keebler Elf, the doubly-traitor-named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
JeffBo is a walking, talking 1980s-Just-Say-No relic, as if we grew him from clones of Nancy Reagan’s DNA found in some fossilized tree sap in Lafayette Park. This guy sees a latent heroin addict in every pot smoker and has used that debunked gateway drug talking point repeatedly.
“If we go back into this path, we’re going to regret it,” warned Sessions in a Senate hearing in April 2016. “Lives will be impacted, families will be broken up, children will be damaged… and people may be psychologically impacted the rest of their lives with marijuana, and if they go on to more serious drugs, which tends to happen, and deny it if you want to, but it tends to happen, there’ll be even greater causes… You’ll see cocaine and heroin increase… [and a] huge increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits, [and] accidents [and] traffic deaths related to marijuana.”
Not only do we deny the gateway theory, we respond with numerous recent studies and surveys showing that every measure of harm from the current opiate epidemic—deaths, overdoses, addictions, use and prescriptions—is reduced significantly in the states that legalize access to marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Science, schmience—Jeff Sessions knows a gateway drug when he sees one.
“I see a line in the Washington Post today that I remember from the ‘80s,” JeffBo said. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just—almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits.”
In numerous articles, I have warned about the drug war reboot that Sessions has been foreshadowing. I often receive responses that Sessions “hasn’t done anything yet” and I’m just being alarmist. “We’re past the tipping point,” I’m sometimes told, “and there’s no way the feds can shut down legalization.”
I think that’s true—to the extent that we’ll never go back to full national marijuana prohibition. But rest assured that Sessions’ DOJ is going to use every weapon in its arsenal to make the rollout of legalization the biggest pain in our ass it can be.
Exhibit A would be the stunning revelation from Tom Angell at MassRoots that Sessions personally sent a letter to the leaders in Congress asking them to strike the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment from the next fiscal year’s budget. That’s the rider that is currently preventing the DOJ (and its DEA) from spending any taxpayer dollars to prosecute lawfully-operated medical marijuana businesses in the Western medical marijuana states covered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions,” JeffBo pleads, “particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic…”
So, it is clear that Sessions wants to prosecute in medical marijuana states.
Should he get the green light to do so, he will. That, in turn, may lead to an increase in the opiate epidemic in the Western states. Then, Sessions can say, “See? All these western states with legal marijuana are seeing increases in opiate overdoses—it is a gateway drug!”
Exhibit B would be the recent seizure by Customs & Border Patrol of locking odor-proof bags made by a Boulder company called Stashlogix. According to Customs (a division of Sessions’ DOJ, remember), these bags are clearly drug paraphernalia and therefore federally illegal to import.
If you’re thinking, “Wait, isn’t paraphernalia something like a pipe or bong that you smoke pot out of?” you’re right, but that’s not the entire definition. Paraphernalia also includes accoutrements for storing drugs, like your fake Pepsi can for hiding weed or a vial with a coke-spoon lid.
Despite the fact that the Stashlogix bags have no pot-leaf insignia, no other designation that they’re for storing drugs and closely resemble a standard camera bag with adjustable compartments, since people do use them for storing weed, the feds consider them paraphernalia.
“Standing alone, the Stashlogix storage case can be viewed as a multi-purpose storage case with no association with or to controlled substances,” read the seizure letter from Customs. “Yet there is no evidence in the form of marketing or community usage that would dispel the finding that Stashlogix cases have a legitimate use other than to store, carry or conceal marijuana.”
The federal government actually introduced reviews of Stashlogix from cannabis-related blogs to determine that nobody would ever store, say, their legal prescription pharmaceutical drugs in them.
So, despite the DOJ’s Cole Memo and its demand that the states that legalize marijuana do so in a way that minimizes exposure to children, the feds are blocking the import of locking storage bags that keep marijuana out of the hands of children. That leads to a possible increase in unintentional child overdoses on marijuana, which Sessions can then point to and say, “See, legalization harms kids!”
If you take the feds at their word—that they want to protect kids and reduce opiate deaths—then the two actions listed above make no sense whatsoever.
But if you read between the lines and recognize that the feds are itching for a drug war reboot, the two actions listed above increase drug-related harms to bolster their case for prosecutions.