You would think Jeff Sessions, the beleaguered Attorney General who will be testifying over potential contact with Russian government officials on Tuesday afternoon would be busy with more pressing matters than marijuana, especially as in the past he’s privately informed Congress that nothing about the government’s approach to marijuana would change. But, apparently, Sessions has changed his mind, and wants to go after medical marijuana.
The Washington Post has confirmed that Sessions sent a letter asking Congress to under the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, arguing that marijuana was a gateway drug causing the opioid epidemic and fueling violent crime, both of which are severely questionable assertions. First passed in 2014, Rohrabacher-Farr prevents the Justice Department from spending federal funds to interfere with state-level medical marijuana laws. It needs to be reauthorized with each spending bill, but it’s never had a problem in Congress.
The Trump administration has been trying to find a way around Rohrabacher-Farr for a while, including appending a signing statement to a budget bill that sounds quite a bit like Trump is attempting to argue federal law takes priority over state law on marijuana issues. The problem, though, is that the Obama administration also tried to get around Rohrabacher-Farr, only to be dealt a stinging defeat in court. Legally speaking, unless Rohrabacher-Farr is omitted from future spending bills or is substantially rewritten, Sessions can mostly just sit there and fume.
That’s likely his only option. Medical marijuana has seen steadily increasing support among voters, and substantially helping matters is analysis revealing that medical marijuana is, jokes to the contrary, seen as and used as medicine. Even Sessions’ home state of Alabama has legalized certain non-psychoactive forms of marijuana for specific medical uses. Congress likely has little appetite to reverse something that saves their states money and that their voters support. Perhaps, if Sessions is concerned, he could advocate to leave the Affordable Care Act in place instead.
(Via Washington Post)