The man who is President Tump’s front-runner for Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, today saw Democrats delay the committee vote for his nomination. Many different groups and organizations oppose Sessions for a number of reasons, all of which reveal some very threatening trends. This has left many Americans on edge, especially members of the nascent cannabis industry.
Jeff Sessions has been quoted as saying “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” While everything uttered by politicians needs to be taken with a grain of salt, it is no surprise people who live and love cannabis felt pretty uneasy. Sessions has made public statements that the comments were taken out of context, but his history of negative remarks is less than consoling.
The reason Sessions is so threatening for this industry and community is that the position he is vying for currently holds together the rocky relationship between federal and state cannabis laws. Memos from past Attorney Generals allowed for states to implement their own laws, provided they were compliant based on reasonable standards, like reduced youth exposure and other public safety measures.
Despite Jeff Sessions denigrating cannabis users, there are those in cannabis that are not so worried about his nomination. Cannabis is at an all time high in terms of social popularity, with major positive influence from veteran support organizations, medical practitioners, and families of sick children who have miraculous responses to certain cannabinoids.
Federal law has not been supportive of cannabis, and the DEA has made no acknowledgement of the streams of scientific evidence showing the medical benefits of cannabis. If Sessions were to be approved, and he upheld his federal jurisdiction when it came to cannabis, there would be problems. States would be more apprehensive to allow for legal business, and supply would dwindle. Entire local economies could shut down if raids on cultivators began again.
Still, the majority of states allow for legal cannabis in some form, and the new administration knows how cumbersome a states’ rights battle would be with half of the nation. Combine that with overwhelming public support for medical cannabis, and over half of Americans now comfortable with responsible adult use laws, and you have a social juggernaut that would not go quietly.
But the social power of cannabis is now rivaled by the power of the industry, at least in economic terms. Recreational cannabis sales are sky high, and tax revenues have been exceeding expectations wherever sales are made legal. Additionally, the cannabis industry now employees hundreds of thousands, (if not millions) of people.
The reporting on cannabis employment is somewhat flawed due to the proliferation of the black market, but cannabis laws will inevitably change that. Licensed business paying taxes have employees who pay taxes, and the government loves nothing more than people paying them money.
It may all come crashing down if Sessions is eventually nominated. Democrats in Congress are certainly not making it easy, as Sessions’ hate toward cannabis is far outweighed by his many disparaging remarks of racism. But even if Sessions becomes the Attorney General, there is so much going for cannabis right now, that you should feel confident in the integrity of your state’s cannabis laws.