When President Trump was still Candidate Donald J. Trump, he made many remarks regarding honoring States Rights when it came to the individual States to decide on the issue of marijuana.
In the now famous November 23, 2015 GQ video, then Candidate Trump talks about legalized marijuana, and in it he said “Legalized marijuana is always a very difficult question . . . for medicinal purposes, for medical purposes . . . absolutely, its fine”.
Tens of millions of Liberty minded Americans believed him when he said this and took his message to heart, fully expecting him to end the ineffectual and wasteful War on Weed. Americans were not wrong to believe President Trump, as he was also on record a month earlier in the Washington Post, on October 29, 2015, being quoted as saying “”In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state.”
These voters were relieved that is, until the position of Attorney General Jeff Sessions reached the public domain. While Jeff Sessions is an excellent jurist and an astute politician, he unfortunately is also an adherent to outmoded thinking on marijuana. As a product of the Religious South, it is natural that AG Sessions would take the dimmest view of marijuana, but there is little room left for debate as to the origin of the marijuana prohibition laws and how they were formulated as a tool to bludgeon both the poor and minorities, the largest consumers of the formerly legal plant. Perhaps Attorney General Sessions has forgotten his Genesis from the Old Testament:
“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Genesis 1:29
Or perhaps he was never familiar with some of the lessor known quotes of Thomas Jefferson:
“If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson
Jeff Sessions states his position plainly: “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”. This plainly false statement, made in all earnestness, clearly demonstrates how far from the mainstream Sessions is on this topic. Very few Americans would agree with him on this, as evidenced in the wave of legalization that washed over the United States over the past five years. More importantly, sick people use marijuana whose medicinal value is proven yet strangely still denied by the Federal Government.
In many States, the road to medical legalization was hard fought, often with State Constitutional amendments requiring over 60% of the popular vote. The Trump Administration should be mindful that the recreational marijuana measures that passed in several states all passed this same way, with overwhelming popular support. This was clearly the Will of the People. It is not Jeff Sessions place to prosecute his version of morality and President Trump should not allow him to do so.
Just the idea of Sessions re-ignites the marijuana drug war has caused consternation within the fledgling State Legal Marijuana Industry. Investments have floundered, confusion introduced, and little in the way of relief has been forthcoming from the White House. This chaos has opened the door for the Cartels. They were being driven out of shriveling black markets, but are now able to reconstitute their distribution networks, filling the gaps left open by patchwork Federal enforcement and by the industries fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Cracking down on legalized marijuana will starve States out of much needed revenue streams. Colorado is a great success story when looked at from a tax base point of view, and much needed revenue is coming in to fund education and government services. Colorado generated over sixty-six million dollars in tax revenue in 2015 and has increased by double digits’ year over year since. Losing that money will put them deep into the red and cause a burden upon the whole State, as well as throwing thousands of people out of work while destroying a billion-dollar industry.
I urge President Trump to honor his word and keep his promise, irrespective of what his Cabinet members may say. There are so many other ways that law enforcement can be put to good use rather than to persecute harmless farmers and shopkeepers who are abiding by State law.