Jeff Sessions is having a tough week. Perched precariously at the edge of his career as U.S. Attorney General, his feet continue to be pecked at by the president with tweets that are way more aggressive than passive-aggressive. Even in a moment where it would seem prudent to stabilize, Sessions is rumored to be preparing a crackdown on legal marijuana, medical and recreational alike, directly pitting him against the will of the majority of Americans. Some of those Americans are even making their perspective crystal clear by filing a lawsuit against Sessions and the DEA.
The Rumored Crackdown on Recreational and Medical Cannabis
At this point, the threat of the great cannabis crackdown of 2017 is sounding like a broken record albeit one that annoyingly has our attention. Sessions’ sent some of his representatives to Colorado recently at the request of Governor John Hickenlooper for a thorough review of how recreational cannabis legalization can work. However, the rumor now shows that Sessions is planning to link marijuana use to violent crime in a statement expected to be released next week by the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The picture’s pretty clear even before you connect the dots. Sessions has always had an obsession with halting cannabis legalization that consistently disregards not only the will of the people but facts and logic. The statement would be an excuse to usher in stricter drug laws and harsher penalties. Is it any coincidence that Sessions has a vested interest in the private prison industry?
Unrelenting Attacks on Sessions
The question is whether Sessions will actually have the opportunity to line his coffers before the axe comes down. The president has been unrelenting in his abuse of the unpopular Attorney General, especially within the last week. While this aggression has absolutely nothing to do with Sessions’ obsession with locking up all the “bad people” who use marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, it’s still worth noting that Session’s boss wants him gone. Several Republicans have stepped up to defend Sessions from attack but the president seems undeterred in his resolve to make the man’s life a living hell.
The Lawsuit Against Sessions and the DEA
Things get really interesting when you factor in a lawsuit that has been filed against the Attorney General as well as the DEA. The claim specifically cites the DEA’s choice to uphold the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance. Schedule I substances are said to be considered of no medical value yet the lawsuit points out that the federal government has actually acknowledged medical benefits of cannabis. Therefore, the DEA’s choice to extend an improper classification as well as Sessions’ push to harshly enforce tougher laws based on the classification are unconstitutional acts.
Meet the Plaintiffs
The claim is backed by a diverse array of plaintiffs. The most prominently recognized is former New York Jets defensive end Marvin Washington who had plans to get involved in cannabusiness. The actions of Sessions and the DEA are preventing Washington from access to a federal grant for new businesses. Washington is joined by 11-year-old Alexis Bortell and 6-year-old Jagger Cotte who have benefitted from the use of medical marijuana for epilepsy and Leigh’s Disease respectively. Jose Balen, a veteran stricken with PTSD, is yet another plaintiff wanting restrictions lifted on travelling with his medication. The suit is rounded out by the New York-based nonprofit Cannabis Cultural Association
Suing the federal government is no small feat but with such a diverse array of plaintiffs, it should send Sessions and the DEA a reminder of where the American public stand on marijuana laws. Of course, this contradicts everything we’ve come to understand about both Sessions and the DEA (namely, that they actually care about the opinions of others). But with Sessions trapped between an angry boss prone to emotional responses and a public who aren’t too keen on giving up their rights, it does feel like his crusade against cannabis is falling apart.