How Russia Is Actually Keeping Jeff Sessions Away From Weed

The post How Russia Is Actually Keeping Jeff Sessions Away From Weed appeared first on High Times.

Reading Jeff Sessions is easy. A sophisticated actor our attorney general is not, as his bewildered and buffaloed performances in front of Senate committees showed in painful clarity.

Peer only perfunctorily into the pale beads lighting from Klan Gollum’s skull, stuck there like marbles in a racist snowman, and behold. Authoritarian with antebellum values. Prosecutor with a pliant sense of justice, for whom the War on Drugs is a handy tool to fill prisons with people of color, who then can’t vote. A mendacious operator with wild ideas, long since tuned out by his more serious coworkers in the Senate, surpassing them now thanks only to a political acumen entirely reliant on his early endorsement of a fellow alt-right friendly traveler, then and now the worst of a bad lot—who, on top of it all, is also quite possibly a Russian asset.

(Just for fun, let’s remember that Sessions appears to have, judging by all rational inquiry, given himself a fake NAACP award, a bizarre example of his character lost in the fog of 2017.)

We know the man, and we know what he wants. He thinks about all the bad things he’s going to do to marijuana legalization as often as most men think about sex.

What’s much harder to unpack is what, exactly, he plans to do first, when and where he’s going to do it—and what’s holding him back.

The past 10 days contain all of Sessions’ multitudes. Yes—both of them.

Shouted into the void on Nov. 17, the Friday before Thanksgiving, a perfect black hole for any news, was a directive barring the Justice Department from releasing memos that, in a phrase, do anything or have any impact.

This would seem to include any issue like the Cole Memo, the nonbinding bit of Obama-era policy all marijuana entrepreneurs show to their landlords and investors as proof that they’re a safe bet and not at all bait for DEA agents. The Cole Memo was “guidance” giving federal prosecutors an excuse not to pursue action against state-legal cannabis producers.

“This Department of Justice will not use guidance documents to circumvent the rulemaking process, and we will proactively work to rescind existing guidance documents that go too far,” said Associate Attorney General  Rachel Brand, whose job it is to review past memos and find ones to nominate for “repeal or modification.”

Does that include the Cole Memo?

As Marijuana Moment’s Tom Angell wrote, almost certainly, but nobody aside from Sessions and his top lieutenants can be really sure. Sessions’ meaning and intent are clear—his plan and his execution, not so much.

Then again this week.

Justice Department officials met on Tuesday, Sessions told reporters during a Wednesday press briefing on the opiate crisis, and marijuana policy was on the table—specifically, the Cole Memo.

How was it carved, and when’s it going out on a platter? Mum’s the word.

“We’ll be working our way through to a rational policy,” he said, moments after declaring cannabis, available as medicine to more than half of Americans, a detriment that’s illegal and subject to enforcement at any time—a stance he then repeated for effect.

Let’s forget for a second that the federal government cannot have a “rational policy” on cannabis, a plant with undeniable and accepted medical value, as long as it’s officially designated more addictive than methamphetamine, less useful to sick people than cocaine, and more dangerous than the very same fentanyl and OxyContin fueling the opiate crisis’ ghastly body count.

Though Sessions still feels handcuffed by Congress, who have thus far rebuffed Sessions’ begging to rescind a budget rider keeping him away from medical marijuana, he has all the legal means he needs to start cracking down on recreational cannabis. And, as US News put it, this latest public utterance is the loudest broadside yet shot across legal cannabis’s bow.

So what’s stopping him?

There’s a full lineup of likely suspects—two, in fact. They are Sessions himself, and the orange man in the red hat who brought him here.

The can of brain worms taking up space in the Oval Office kind-of, sort-of promised to leave weed alone on the campaign trail, sure, but this is the same guy who accused Joe Scarborough of murder, with an ability to create his own reality rivaling Homer Simpson’s.

Donald Trump’s words are worth what Twitter pays for its content. That doesn’t matter—but the fact that Trump probably still wants Jeff Sessions to go away, and that a crackdown on weed would make an unpopular president even more unpopular, and within his own party, have to matter somewhere in the White House.

Nobody aside from Sessions and a few die-hards want to spend their limited political capital on weed—not even the Nazis in the White House.

But for now, Sessions—thanks to his ties with Russia, and his Rachel Dolezal-worthy attempts at convincing us those ties don’t exist—remains his own worst enemy.

At this point, with eight states having legalized marijuana and more to come next year, even a limited marijuana crackdown is, in effect, a war. Waging a war requires an army that Sessions does not have.

Sessions has yet to appoint full-time U.S. attorneys in multiple key districts, including in California, where cannabis will be sold over-the-counter beginning January 1.

He does not have enough DEA agents to make a dent in a multibillion-dollar industry. And he lacks the clout to convince local authorities to go along with him—even when dangling the prospect of cash from civil asset forfeiture in front of their faces.

Much of this is thanks to Trump-Russia.

The consensus appears to be that as long as his role in Russia’s role in the 2016 election is at play, Sessions’ hands are tied.

Even if Russia goes away, Sessions has a list of other priorities.

Illegal immigrants. Expanded policing powers and undoing police reforms. Running a domestic Gestapo to round up terrorist suspects.

More than anyone else, Vladimir Putin deserves cannabis’s Christmas cards, for creating the web that’s keeping Jeff Sessions at arm’s length from legal marijuana—more than anyone, that is, except Sessions himself.

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Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution

The post Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution appeared first on High Times.

There really is nothing like a gray-haired legislator rambling on about 17th century China, opium and youth trends to make a hard-line case for banning cannabis. It takes you back to those early days of marijuana prohibition, when the hysteria, ignorance and fear-mongering were so new and exciting. And who knows, maybe Canadian MLA Ron Orr stepped through a way-back portal on his way to the Alberta legislature on Wednesday, where he delivered a jeremiad against the cannabis-induced collapse of all societal values. Yes, this politician believes legal weed will spur a communist revolution in Canada.

This Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution In Canada

Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Ron Orr is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Canada, representing the Lacombe-Panoka district in central Alberta. He’s a staunch conservative who’s taken a scatter-shot approach to speaking out against legal cannabis.

Canada’s legal weed law mandates that individual provinces set specific rules and regulations for the cannabis industry. Which is why having a politician who believes legal weed will spur a communist revolution is kind of a problem.

Before he played his trump card in the Alberta legislature, Orr had brought up more conventional concerns about legal weed.

He expressed concern about high driving. Specifically, how much it would cost to train officers to detect cannabis intoxication in drivers.

“It’s going to cost a lot to get officers trained,” Orr said.

Orr also raised the issue of taxation. He may believe legal weed will bring about war and the collapse of civilization. But he’s also against taxing it too high.

“If you want to keep it out of the black market, you’ve got to keep taxes down,” Orr added.

But on Wednesday, Orr revealed some more eccentric thoughts about legal cannabis in Canada.

Orr isn’t just an MLA. He’s also Alberta’s official culture and tourism critic under United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney.

So it was while speaking in both capacities that Orr laid out his case for why legal weed = communism.

Try to keep up.

Legal Weed = Chinese Communism?

Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution

Let’s try to understand the logic behind Ron Orr’s argument.

First, you have to notice the “direct historical connection” between Canada’s well-regulated, modern legal cannabis program and the opium trade of 17th century China.

Then, you have to realize that cannabis is a flower people smoke, and “opium was just a flower” smoked “just like marijuana.”

Next, you have to understand that weed has become a “fashionable, refined pastime among the young.” And according to Orr, opium smoking was similarly à la mode amongst the youths in pre-industrial China.

Finally, you have to reduce the complex and multi-valent causes of the centuries of war that set the stage for the Chinese Cultural Revolution to conflicts over the opium trade. And there you have it. Legal weed = Chinese communism.

And it’s a road Orr is “not really willing to go down.” He fears a modern Canada with legal weed will repeat the same course of history as the proletariat of China.

All in all, a fairly generous summary of the argument. Here it is in Orr’s own words, with all their mangled incongruity:

Their whole society was so broken down and debilitated by [opium] that it contributed to the Chinese Cultural Revolution under the communists, the execution of thousands of people, dealers were executed, fields were plowed under and planted with real food and I, for one, am not really willing to go down this road.

And why not toss a little anti-weed moralism on top?

“Let me tell you something, it doesn’t lead to the good life. It’s an escape.” Orr said. “The human tragedy of what’s going to happen with this has yet to be revealed.”

Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution, But No One’s Buying It

Politician Believes Legal Weed Will Spur A Communist Revolution

Thankfully, other MLAs have spoken out against Orr’s strange concerns over legal weed in Canada.

Michael Connolly, an MLA in Canada’s New Democratic Party, tweeted his thoughts on Orr’s latest anti-weed statements.

“I doubt he has the grasp on reality that most people have,” Connolly tweeted.

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