Far too often, the public and the media have been missing important issues in government. The Sessions hearing offers yet another one of those situations.
Near the beginning of the Senate hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, there was a prepared statement by Sessions that most people don’t seem to have noticed. The statement was a reiteration of something that the Attorney General had requested from Congress in writing – permission to ignore laws passed by the various states, so that he could start raiding legal marijuana dispensaries across the country. During the hearing, his claim was peppered with talk about protecting the American public from evil drug lords, but what this really is about is an end run by the Federal government to quash states daring to attempt to regain some control of their own territories.
That short letter flies in the face of just about everything that has come to light over the past decade (or more) on marijuana, and its place in the realm of currently illegal drugs. And make no mistake – that is the drug that Sessions wants to target. There is no reason for it, other than a desire to radically increase the existing government programs that encourage police and courts to imprison drug users, instead of real felons. It’s not about public safety. It is about building more prisons, and perhaps in the eyes of some politicians, keep control over “lower income and undesirable” portions of the population.
As a general rule conservatives tend to complain about the left leveraging control over lower income populations through entitlement programs. While that is true, the fact is that conservatives are just as guilty of attempting to leverage the same kind of control when they start talking about cracking down on crime and drugs. The bottom line is that the ones at the bottom of the income scale are being controlled by both sides of the aisle. One is trying to buy their votes with giveaways, and the other is threatening to throw them in prison for minor offenses (many of which shouldn’t be illegal at all in the first place.)
But Sessions is caught in a time warp, and is thinking that he’s back in the 1980s, if he thinks that there is still wide public approval for keeping marijuana illegal. A Quinnipiac Poll in April found that 60 percent of American voters want to see marijuana legalized, period. When asked about medical marijuana, 94 percent of voters want doctors to be able to prescribe it.
Turn back the clock just a little, and a Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated that marijuana is not a gateway drug to opioid abuse. In case anyone forgot, when we honestly talk about a drug abuse epidemic in this country now, we are referring to our problem with opioid abuse. The blame for that falls greatly on our physicians for over-prescribing opiates, getting people hooked, and then we see them turn to street drugs when the prescriptions stop. If you think that Sessions is concerned with that problem, think again. He’s more interested in getting the government and prison partnership into overdrive. That also means he’s probably not very concerned about fixing our current judicial system, so that truly dangerous felons actually end up in prison – and away from being able to hurt citizens – for a long time.
But, we’re going to keep trying to figure out if he talked with Russians, right?
Featured image: Neon Tommy (CC)