“We’re working on that very hard right now,” he said when asked if the federal government’s deference to the states on legalization would be changing. “We had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length. It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it.”
“We are working our way through to a rational policy, but I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department believes that marijuana is harmless and people should not avoid it,” he added.
Sessions’s comments came during a press conference concerning DOJ initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, a problem that, coincidentally, is reduced in states where people have access to marijuana.
It’s somewhat surprising that Sessions hasn’t tried to end this yet, but as the weed industry noted after the election, he has other priorities such as oppressing black people, not to mention trying to crack down on active resistance to Sessions’ cherished racism. There’s also the light treason Sessions probably committed with the Russians. So he has a lot on his plate. The thing is that with each passing day, this gets harder for the DOJ to suppress. It is fully legal in eight states now, not one or two. And while poltiical support for it in Maine and Massachusetts remains much less than at the popular level, that’s very much not the case in the western states, which are also making a lot of money off this. Having spend most of the last four months in Eugene, the sheer number of weed stores is astounding, as is the advertising, which is everywhere. For Denver, marijuana has become a major part of the tourist industry, which is annoying is this is for many Colorado residents has brought in a lot of money, as well as the worst New York Times column of all time.
Moreover this is one of these issues like gay marriage where even young Republicans either are outright in favor or they just don’t care. In fact, it’s hard to find an issue that is so concentrated as a political priority only in the minds of old right-wing white men as marijuana. There are likely to be more states legalizing in 2018, either through a ballot measure or in the statehouse. So if and when Sessions does crack down, we can expect a lot of lawsuits, although given the Supreme Court we may know how this ends up. And while legalized marijuana is such a part of the western landscape now that it almost seems national legalization is eventually inevitable, if there’s one lesson we should take from the present situation, it’s that nothing is inevitable and political battles are never truly won, even old ones such as civil rights, collective bargaining, or even the 17th Amendment. So I don’t know what will happen, but the sheer contempt that the government would face from much of the nation for trying to crack down on marijuana at this point make the political consequences of cracking down very high, including ensuring that Colorado never again votes for a Republican.