Sessions to Congress: prosecute medical marijuana providers

Posted on June 13th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchAttorney General Jeff Sessions has called on congressional leaders to overturn federal protections on medical marijuana that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that the Washington Post published June 13. The letter, addressed to the Senate majority and minority leaders as well as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, called for repeal of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which bars the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent named states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

The letter was first reported by Tom Angell on the cannabis industry website Massroots.com, and later "verified independently" by the Washington Post. In the missive, Sessions griped that the amendment would "inhibit [Justice Department] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act."

He continued: "I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives."

WaPo couldn't resist pointing out an obvious irony to Sessions' citing of the "historic drug epidemic" to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves potently addictive and potentially deadly opiates and opioids—not cannabis. And a cannabis crackdown could actually be counter-productive to fighting opioid abuse.

As the Washington Post wrote on Feb. 28:  "According to a 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine, states with medical marijuana laws between 1999 and 2010 saw, on average, about 25 percent fewer opiate overdose deaths than states without such laws. What’s more, the effect of a medical marijuana law appeared to grow over time—more lives were saved each additional year after the laws’ implementation, suggesting an effect from more people taking advantage of the programs."

Sessions was essentially riffing on the discredited notion that cannabis is a "gateway drug" that leads to hard stuff. Too bad he doesn't seem to have kept up with the actual research.

Sessions hardly makes a secret of his enthusiasm for police state measures where drugs, crime and immigration are concerned. But it is good that the media are not letting him get away with simple distortions of reality.

Photo by Hammer51012  

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