Jeff Sessions is a real douchebag
Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who has spent most of his political career being an idiot) continued the trend today by announcing that he was rescinding the Cole Memo. The Cole Memo was written in 2013 by then deputy attorney general James M. Cole, and essentially told the Justice Department to stick to specific priorities when prosecuting cannabis users and sellers, basically leaving states to make their own rules about legal cannabis. Sessions' new memo, released today, undoes that direction, and instead opens the door for federal agencies to continue to prosecute marijuana users and sales.
In the larger picture, this probably means nothing. Cannabis legalization is enjoying the most support it had ever had, and in more states than ever, the drug is legal, either for medicinal or even recreational patients. In the smaller picture, however, this direction means nothing but uncertainty. It makes a lot of the protections cannabis users and sellers thought they had irrelevant, and it allows the federal government to go after anyone they believe is not following federal rules, rather than leaving states to decide for themselves what's right and what's wrong.
Not surprisingly, many politicians are outraged by Sessions' choice to go against what many Americans have already decided is the right path. And the worst part of all of this isn't that cannabis usage will stop (it most likely will not -- legalizing marijuana has already been shown to have benefits for states like Colorado and Washington, and California has already created the biggest recreational market in the world, with more states on the way), but that cannabis buyers and sellers now have to live in fear and uncertainty that what they're doing is legal or not.
Let's be honest here -- cannabis will be legal across the US very soon. There are already multiple bills introduced to Congress to make the drug legal in almost every sense of the word, and voters across the country have already shown a preference for legalization almost every time they've been asked. Sessions is a dinosaur who believes wrongly that the failed War on Drugs has any place in this world: It doesn't. He's been accused of being a racist, and keeping marijuana illegal is exactly the kind of racist thing that he would do. He doesn't matter, and whether he's dismissed by his own idiotic president (which some have recommended) or he falls away into obscurity on his own doesn't really matter to us or the many people who believe in legalization.
Who it does matter to, however, are the business owners and growers who have come to rely on cannabis for a living. What they're doing isn't wrong, and there are even state laws that allow it in many cases. The federal legislation doesn't reflect that position yet, but it will, and yet Sessions, as a dinosaur, is forcing uncertainty into an issue that should be settled. He's putting the lives and livelihoods of those in the cannabis industry at risk, because he's attached to old, racist, unfounded ideas about cannabis and how it works.
That's the real problem. Sessions doesn't matter. But the industry does, and he's imperiled it right at a time when it was beginning to flourish. Eventually, cannabis will be legal in the United States, and hopefully this reversal is the last straw to get us towards that point. Already, state leaders have spoken out that they won't support persecution of cannabis businesses, and Congressmen, from the left side and the right, have said that the drug should be legal across the US. This move by Sessions is backwards and mistaken, and only adds problems to an industry that's already rolling forward. Hopefully, whether through Congress or through the states, we'll find a more stable place for cannabis to be, so that the people who have invested their time, money, and lives to get product to a ready public aren't left out in the cold.