Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Cannabis Wars

Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole memo this morning—the Obama-era guideline that directed federal law enforcement to leave cannabis businesses alone in states where they were legal. That’s obviously terrible policy because the DOJ doesn’t have the bodies or money to stop legal cannabis, so the best Sessions can do is act as a kind of legal terrorist, capriciously enforcing federal law on some businesses to scare the others. (A technique used by ICE among undocumented immigrants.)
But there’s a bigger issue here. The large majority of Americans have voted for some level of legal cannabis and something like a quarter live in states where it has been fully legalized. Then there are a group of people who believe cannabis is almost uniquely dangerous, has no medical benefit, and must be stamped out at all costs. This is backed by federal law. The Cole memo just papered over this gigantic divide and delayed a reckoning.

Perhaps because most leaders are still old, but I have been *shocked* how little federal candidates refuse to deal with the issue. It’s never come up in a Presidential election and is still treated as a Cheech and Chong joke to most politicians when it comes up. (Not, of course, in states where it has been legalized.) Why hasn’t this become a major political issue? And why are Democrats so terrified of it?

If I were a smart Dem trying to distinguish myself in front of the 2020 primaries, I’d be all over this issue.

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