Uh oh. President-elect Donald J. Trump has appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to become the U.S. Attorney General. Marijuana activists and users could be in for an extremely rude awakening after nearly a decade of relatively passive federal enforcement of the nation’s drug war.
The three-term senator, hardly a Washington outsider, has never minced words when it comes to his views on marijuana. As recently as April 2016 the Senator stated his views on marijuana during Congressional hearings, “this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about.” Senator Sessions also offered the observation that, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
“I can’t tell you how concerning it is for me, emotionally and personally, to see the possibility that we will reverse the progress that we’ve made…” he said. “It was the prevention movement that really was so positive, and it led to this decline.”
Well, not exactly. The nation’s drug use was already in decline when the Reagans took office and studies have shown that teens enrolled in the Just Say No’s organizing force, the notorious DARE program, were just as likely to use drugs as those teens who were not enrolled.
But prohibitionists have an aversion to facts, no matter how conclusive they may be and for Sessions drug prohibition isn’t the only wrong from the past with which the prospective AG takes issue. Gays, immigrants and blacks are all on Sessions’ hit list. He is on record as saying that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are “un-American” and “Communist inspired.”
Drug advocates have, for the past 8-10 years, been like the James Taylor song “Fire and Rain.” With “our backs turned toward the sun” we have traveled down a relatively smooth road for some time. Oh sure, there have been horrendous miscarriages of justice. But if you want an indication that things have improved you need only look at the statistics out of Alabama for the period between 2008 and 2012. Marijuana arrest for sales and/or possession fell from 10,209 to 3,600, a decline of over 60 percent! But “Lord knows, when that cold wind blows it will turn your head around” and things are starting to get chilly.
TELL US, what do you think about Sessions being named the Attorney General?