Dude, this is so funny:
Faced with an opioid crisis that kills 64,000 people a year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has torched Obama-era guidelines that kept the federal government from hassling states where voters legalized marijuana.
What’s even funnier: Sessions repeatedly lies that pot’s dangerous and has said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana. ” He’s even joked (if, as The New York Times reported, it was a joke) that he thought the Ku Klux Klan“was OK until I found they smoked pot.”
Sessions dislikes pot more than the Klan. Oh god, ohgodohgodohgod, I’m crying.
We know the scientific and medical consensus is that Sessions is a dipshit – which I’m paraphrasing, somewhat: marijuana’s not addictive like cigarettes, not as harmful as booze, and it doesn’t kill 1/64,000th of the people opioids do, unless someone has suffered a Warner Bros.-type accident walking under a giant, falling bale of weed.
Not that facts are a big speed bump for Sessions and the Trump administration he serves without shame. See also: “climate change.”
And not that those same people are exactly preoccupied with democracy. For instance, 83 percent of voters wanted to keep Net Neutrality. Oh, well.
The GOP tax bill was even less popular than Dave Chappelle’s bit about Louis CK jerking off in front of women. So they passed it in the middle of the night with no debate.
And when Gallup polling showed 64 percent of Americans want pot legalized – including 51 percent of Republicans – the choice was clear for Sessions: a big negatory.
But the laughs keep coming. Sessions’ Mary Jane smackdown came just as California legalized recreational weed. It’ll likely be economically righteous there, just as it’s been for Colorado, Oregon, and my state, Washington, inflating those states’ budgets with billions from highly regulated pot sales taxes.
Sessions appears unaware that the populations of those states haven’t turned into Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson from Dazed and Confuzed.
In the bigger picture, California, the most populous state with the world’s sixth largest economy, is healthy under progressive leadership and policies. Meanwhile, Kansas was a Petri dish for conservative ideas, and it became a ruined, overflowing-toilet-state.
Faced with these results, Republicans decided: “Let’s do the Kansas thing everywhere.”
And faced with the War on Drugs, a failure on every level, with astronomical financial and human costs, Sessions and his ruling party decided: “Let’s have another helping of that, too.”
I only wish my mom were still alive to see this. Not Sessions. She’d think he’s an asshole. She was a pot-smoker, and I watched her get arrested for it, as well as deal with decades of Cheech & Chong “Dave’s Not Here”-caliber subterfuge for such a benign drug.
And she was white – I think. Black people are nearly four times more likely to get busted for pot, according to the ACLU.
Sessions’ pot action and the War On Drugs are so patently racist that, if they were people, they’d wear white polo shirts and wave tiki torches. Not that anyone capable of seeing and hearing things is accusing Sessions or Trump of not being racists. Note the key phrase in this marijuana crackdown: “Obama-era.” These bogarting bigots want to erase Obama’s sensible pot rules just like Obamacare and everything else he had the nerve to accomplish as he was being president while black.
I’d like to walk my mom into one of the legal pot shops in my Seattle neighborhood, where the employees are as knowledgeable as sommeliers, and the weed is so anal-retentively packaged and labeled that you can ask for the effect, strength and form of it you want. You can even get the CBD stuff that just helps with pain without turning you into either Harold or Kumar.
Whereas, until recently, it worked like this: you got a bag of weed from some guy. Sort of a crapshoot.
Another benefit of the legal shops: you no longer have to hang out with that guy. Pay for it and leave, just like sex.
Not to mention the minor detail that fewer people’s lives are derailed by arrests, criminal records and prison. Sessions and the alleged Party of Fiscal Responsibility believe this is a swell use of taxpayer money.
Always follow the money. For-profit prisons don’t fill themselves and pharmaceutical companies can’t sell as many drugs to people who are getting cheap, plentiful, legal marijuana that doesn’t render them Anna Nicole Smith.
And those industries make it rain with lobbying money. By last year, private prisons tripled their 2014 amount to give a record $1.6 million, according to opensecrets.org. Big Pharma looks at that amount and says, “Hold my Xanax,” throwing $2.5 billion at Congress in the last decade, per The Guardian.
The snack food industry, not so much.
(It pains me to add that, despite widespread claims that Sessions owns private prison stock and stands to benefit from cramming them with pot-smokers, Snopes.com reports that’s not so true. [BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM]He has shares in a couple of widely diversified funds with holdings in two such prison companies, and “he does not stand to gain financially in a meaningful way.”[END OPTIONAL TRIM] It pains me because Sessions is exactly the type of Charles Dickens villain who would have that conflict. And private prison stock has skyrocketed under the Trump regime.)
Covering marijuana for The Seattle Times several years ago, I spoke to many suffering medical patients whose lives were made even more nightmarishly miserable by stormtroopers enforcing needlessly cruel federal pot laws. Legalization has been a godsend for them.
And for the kids whose seizures have been relieved, the veterans whose PTSD has been eased, alcoholics who’ve used pot to wean themselves off the sauce that was killing them, and, not least importantly, people using it to kick opioids.
Or as Sessions calls them, dangerous criminals who must be stopped immediately.
But what about the Grand Ol’ Party of states’ rights? Cough. I just snorted. Sorry.
Asked last year if his AG pick would shut down pot legalization: “I wouldn’t do that, no,” Trump said. “I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.” (WaPo again.)
In other words, it’s absolutely not going to be up to the states.
If there’s any sentient being unaware of what “states’ rights” is code for, Sessions, himself, is a drawling microcosm of conservative hypocrisy on the subject. He’s been for states’ rights when they go against the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department investigating police abuses, recognizing same sex marriage, and including sexual orientation on the list of groups protected by federal hate crime laws, according to WaPo.
But he’s against states’ rights when it comes to sanctuary cities, asset forfeiture, and the aforementioned chronic.
While you’re hauling out your Enigma machine to figure what those things have in common, here are some silver linings to this pot cloud:
Sessions and many of his Reefer Madness ilk will be dead soon.
Taking away rights from people once they’ve test-driven them doesn’t work so well. See also: “prohibition” and “abortion.”
State officials both Democrat and Republican are telling Sessions to eat shit – again, paraphrasing. My own governor, Jay Inslee, and AG Bob Ferguson have promised to defend Washington’s legal weed. Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado did the same. In broken-clock fashion, even the otherwise despicable California Republican Rep. and Russian tool Dana Rohrabacher has spoken out against Sessions’ weed grab.
Support your representatives if they’re telling Sessions to eat shit, and lean on ‘em if they haven’t.
Now who wants to listen to some Pink Floyd?