Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ push to open a huge new front in the war on drugs suffered a likely fatal blow this week. Sessions’ former colleagues on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee rejected his pleas and voted to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Sessions is so vehemently opposed to marijuana; he wants to take the gloves off and go after medical marijuana users in states where it is legal to use.
It took over ten years for the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to finally pass become law in 2014. It’s a pretty simple restriction attached to the budget allocation for the Department of Justice. The DOJ under the amendment cannot use any money to prevent states from enacting medical marijuana production and distribution channels. This, General Sessions could not abide.
Published by the website MassRoots.com on June 12th, Sessions sent a letter to the top leadership in both houses of Congress, dated May 1, 2017. In it, he laments the tough restrictions that keep him from putting people in cages who grow and sell medical marijuana to sick patients in states where doing so is legal. He attempts to bolster his own argument with fantastic lines about marijuana’s potential for abuse and lack of therapeutic benefits. One does wonder how Mr. Sessions can buy into such reefer-madness level hysteria over marijuana.
Fortunately, few Senators share General Sessions’ outlook, as Americans vote across the country, in increasingly larger numbers, for a reduction in this war on marijuana.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the rider, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, by a voice vote, indicating that it was not controversial among the panel’s members, who include 16 Republicans. The committee thereby rejected a personal plea by Sessions to let the amendment lapse.
Will Sessions try again? Assuming he’s Attorney General next year, and President Trump’s recent tweets make that seem unlikely, he may, given his dogmatic ferocity against the demon weed. However, the political landscape will be more hostile as California adds almost 200 million to the number of Americans who can use marijuana without permission on January 1st, 2018. Rohrabacher-Farr may be an elegant solution to a sticky wicket and political finesse, or it may be a cowardly attempt for pols to have their cake and eat it too – in either case, it seems here to stay, and for that, we can all be thankful.