2016 certainly has been a crazy time for all American citizens. After one of the most sordid and contentious presidential election campaigns in my lifetime, Donald Trump shocked everyone by winning the presidency when all polls favored Hillary Clinton.
Over the past 2 weeks, Mr. Trump has been making his choices for his Cabinet posts. He appears to have offered the job of Attorney General of the US to junior Republican senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama. Many people supported Donald Trump because they were sure his stand on cannabis laws would be in the best interest of the medical cannabis community. Many were stunned by the Sessions appointment as he has described cannabis as dangerous and has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Clearly, millions of American medical cannabis patients were infuriated by his statements.
The fear is that Sessions could lead a campaign to assert federal control over drug policy as opposed to leaving it to states’ rights where it currently lies. On the campaign trail, Trump claimed that he would respect the current policy of state cannabis laws.
So, should millions of medical cannabis patients fear that their programs would be in jeopardy if Sessions is confirmed? Two of the leading supporters of cannabis law reform in the US, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, D-OR weighed in on the Sessions appointment.
Congressman Rohrabacher feels confident that medical cannabis patients are overreacting and have nothing to worry about. Although Sessions, personally, is no fan of medical cannabis use, Rohrabacher seems convinced that Sessions would unquestionably support the incoming president’s policy of leaving the decisions about medical cannabis usage in the hands of each individual state.
Furthermore, Rohrabacher is an ardent and leading sponsor of successful amendments to prevent the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws. The majority of Americans favor no interference by the DEA of states’ medical cannabis programs.
On the other hand, Earl Blumenauer is very wary and deeply troubled by Sessions, altogether, as the head of our justice system. He opposes Sessions’ appointment and urges the Senate to refuse to confirm him as Attorney General. He is suspicious that the new administration may not honor its campaign trail pledges of supporting the states’ rights medical cannabis laws.
Sessions’ antiquated Drug War mentality about cannabis being a gateway drug to harder drug use is a throwback to the Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” program. Many people are troubled by his racists views, citing his strange comment that the Ku Klux Klan “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
Blumenauer has taken the lead on several drug policy reform measures in Congress, including amendments to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis. Many medical cannabis patients are veterans who returned from combat with PTSD. They have used medical cannabis successfully to treat their PTSD symptoms.
Blumenauer is still optimistic that if Sessions is confirmed, he can put aside his personal opposition to medical cannabis and uphold the current states’ rights cannabis laws.