Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ conviction that marijuana is a “gateway drug” that prompts rampant violent crime runs so deep that he recently mocked a medical intern who told him that guns are more dangerous than weed. He has now countered California’s New Year’s Day legalization of weed smoking by rolling back an Obama-era policy that allowed legal weed to flourish.
As such, the Hill has independently confirmed an Associated Press report that Sessions is abolishing the Cole Memo, which instructed U.S. attorneys to deprioritize prosecution of weed-related criminal cases in states where smoking marijuana is legal. In turn, Sessions will defer to federal prosecutors on how to enforce federal marijuana laws at the state level:
Sessions’ policy will let U.S. attorneys across the country decide what kinds of federal resources to devote to marijuana enforcement based on what they see as priorities in their districts, the people familiar with the decision said.
The timing is no mere coincidence, but Sessions’ crusade is ongoing and plays to those who truly fear that legalized pot will be laced with crack or PCP and cause humanity to crumble. All of this hysteria, of course, flies in the face of the obvious benefits of turning the marijuana trade into a taxable industry. After all, the states (plus D.C.) who have legalized pot have reaped enormous financial windfalls, and California sales are expected to eventually produce $1 billion per year in tax revenue.
At present, it’s not clear whether this decision will result in crackdowns on marijuana dispensaries or what the full prosecution implications shall be.
However, Sessions’ decision follows unsubtle rumblings from his marijuana advisor, Dr. Robert DuPont, who wants to drug test the population at large as part of routine physician visits. As the Daily Beast notes, DuPont has argued, “Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar, why not test for illicit drugs.” However, the outlet also points out that DuPont has a financial interest in forced drug testing, since he sits on a number of industry advisory boards, including a drug-testing startup that could receive quite a windfall if his across-the-board dreams come true. It’s not exactly an altruistic portrait of the man whispering into the ears of the nation’s top cop.
UPDATE: Sessions has officially rescinded the Cole Memo. See his memo below, courtesy of NBC Washington’s Kelly Cohen.