Democrat Schools and Scolds Jeff Sessions About Medicinal Weed Lies

During Jeff Sessions testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee this week he was caught off guard by a line of questioning he didn’t have lies prepared for. Of course Sessions’ preparation focused on pretending to “forget” about the Trump campaign’s intimate relationship with Russia, so he was not ready for queries from a Republican from Ohio and a Democrat from Tennessee about “his department’s policy” on legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana.

Ohio Republican, Steve Chabot, wanted Sessions to clarify his position on legal marijuana while it is still illegal under antiquated federal law. Chabot’s state, Ohio, is beginning to implement its own medical marijuana program, so he pressed Sessions to clarify what Ohio has to look forward to with an attorney general’s “reefer madness” mindset about the medicine. “What is your department’s policy on that, relative to enforcing the law?”

Sessions replied that thus far, nothing has changed from the previous compassionate administration’s policy.

Our policy is the same really, fundamentally, as the Holder-Lynch policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes.”

Although he wasn’t technically “lying,” Sessions “forgot” to say that he has been pressuring Congress not to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prohibits the federal government from interfering with states that have decriminalized medicinal or recreational pot use. The House told Sessions no and for good measure Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced an amendment identical to the House version that passed over Sessions’ objections. Congress doesn’t believe Session’s is in line with the will of the people or medical science of the past 40 years or so.

The real fun began when Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) seized on the subject of marijuana and took Sessions, “a notorious pot hater,” to task over a remark he made about the kind of people “that would smoke marijuana:” suffice it to say the “forgetful” evangelical and avowed “pot enemy” doesn’t think much of anyone who uses cannabis. In fact, he categorically stated last year that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Mr. Cohen was prepared for Sessions and noted:

You said at one time that good people don’t smoke marijuana. Which of these people would you say are not good people?” Referring to a prepared list of prominent Republicans, Mr. Cohen named GOP stalwarts “John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, George Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; all of those listed have at some point said they used marijuana. Which of those are not good people?”

Sessions was clearly flummoxed and had little wriggle room to say “he couldn’t remember” making such an absurd statement. So he  resorted to the  typical Trump administration kind of response; he lied. He said:

Let me tell you how that came about. The question was what do you do about drug use, the epidemic we’re seeing in the country, and how you reverse it. Part of that is a cultural thing. I explained how when I became United States Attorney in 1981, and drugs were being used widely, over a period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular, and… it was seen as such that good people didn’t use marijuana. That was the context of that statement.”

Sessions’ statement was made in 2016 when he was lobbying for congressional support to put a stop to states’ cannabis decriminalization programs and portrayed the weed as a clear and present danger on par with heroin and the opioid epidemic. The “context” of Sessions’ statement was around convincing Congress to get on board his “reefer madness” bandwagon and help him “foster knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about . . . and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Apparently Representative Cohen recalled some of Sessions’ statements earlier this year when he compared weed to heroin and mocked the scientific research revealing that cannabis has been successful in treating heroin and opioid addiction. Cohen was brilliant to get Sessions on the congressional record admitting that “Marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin — do you agree with that?” Sessions replied “I think that’s correct.”

Mr. Cohen thanked Sessions for being truthful as it must have been an extremely painful experience, and then schooled the pot-hating Attorney General instructing him to wise up.

Look at the [budget] limitations you’ve got… Put your enforcement on crack, on cocaine, on meth, on opioids, and on heroin. Marijuana is the least bothersome of all.

 Twenty-eight states or 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for medical purposes; eight states and the District of Columbia for recreational purposes. In states where they’ve got medical marijuana, they have 25 percent less opioid use. It gives people a way to relieve pain without using opioids, which inevitably leads to death and crime. So I’d hope you’d take a look at that.”

Sessions said,

We will take a look at it. We will be looking at some rigorous analysis of the marijuana usage and how it plays out. I am not as optimistic as you.”

It doesn’t matter whether Sessions is optimistic or not, there are more “rigorous analyses,” studies and research available than Sessions has years left among the living to “take a look at.” The research and studies, including the weed’s efficacy at halting many forms of cancer, are numerous and easily accessible; including on the United States government National Institute of Health (NIH) website.

There is also a preliminary release of a brand new study revealing that two-thirds of patients “stop opioid painkillers after using medical marijuana.” The full, final report will be released in 2018 and it isn’t clear if Jeff Sessions will “be looking at that rigorous analysis” because it contradicts his assertion that cannabis has no medicinal or therapeutic value whatsoever.

If nothing else, Sessions can no longer claim “he believes” marijuana is dangerous like heroin and opioids or that he is unaware the weed has proven medicinal value and is one therapy worth investigating to stop the opioid epidemic.

Obviously, marijuana is not a miracle cure and it isn’t for everybody. Although with the severe memory problems plaguing Jeff Sessions when he testifies before Congress, he should take a look at a study released earlier this year reporting that chronic weed use “can help reverse memory problems related to brain aging in senior citizens.” Regular reefer use may help Sessions memory problems, but it won’t help his inclination to lie the next time he states that “weed is as dangerous as heroin and opioids;” a claim he is now on the congressional record refuting.

Trump Isn’t Serious About Opioids If He Won’t Legalize Marijuana

Trump’s dog and pony show declaration that the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency worthy of the government’s full resolve, is nothing short of laughable. It’s laughable because Trump is all talk or he would have demanded that Congress appropriate whatever funding necessary to tackle the problem.

It is unfortunate that Trump and his attorney general are so religiously opposed to an existing means of significantly reducing opioid deaths, opioid hospitalizations, opioid use, and fewer opioid-related drug treatment admissions. The good news is that although legalized cannabis will not “cure” or “solve” the opioid epidemic on its own, it will not cost the government a stinking penny and there are reams of data and current empirical evidence proving that legal weed is doing more to stem the opioid crisis than just making a White House announcement. To make matters that much worse, Trump’s attorney general is threatening to “crack down” on cannabis legalization whether it is for medicinal or recreational use.

According to data published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, “changes in the legal status of cannabis is closely associated with significant reductions in opioid related mortality.” The data show that no matter which state, medical cannabis regulation has contributed to “year-over-year” declines in overall opioid-related deaths; it also is responsible for a decline in heroin overdose fatalities.

In what are called “medicalization states,” the data show that within one year opioid deaths decreased by 20 percent compared to “non-medicalized” states; by the sixth year deaths declined by 33 percent. That data agrees with several other studies linking establishment of both medicinal marijuana dispensaries and “adult use retailers” with reductions in opioid fatalities; including a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for opioids.

In a more recent 2017 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “cannabis medicalization” helped reduce opioid-related hospitalizations.   The study revealed that in states with legal medical marijuana, there was a 23 percent “drop in hospitalizations due to opioid dependence and a 13 percent decline in hospitalizations due to opioid overdose.” According to the study, “medical marijuana policies [are] significantly associated with reduced opioid pain reliever-related hospitalizations.”

According to a just-published research paper by an economics professor at the University of Georgia, the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries is “correlated with an immediate decrease in narcotic-related admissions to drug treatment facilities.” Specifically,  “dispensary openings experience a 20 percentage point decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations.” And according to a Castlight Health study published in 2016 following of over one-million subjects, access to medical cannabis was associated with “far lower prevalence of opioid abuse and doctor shopping.”

In what should be considered the best evidence that marijuana legalization, whether for recreation or medicinal use, as an immediate aid in the fight against the opioid crisis, in states where marijuana is legal patients us “far fewer prescription drugs than do those in jurisdictions where cannabis use remains prohibited.” In fact, two recent studies published in the journal Health Affairs reported that, “passing medical cannabis regulation resulted in a significant drop in Medicare and Medicaid-related prescription drug spending.”

In a 2017 study by the University of New Mexico, researchers reported that “state registrants” often greatly reduced and even eliminated prescription drug intake over time as opposed to non-registrants with similar medical conditions who maintained  and had to increase their opioid use.

An Illinois study assessing state-qualified patients concluded that many subject used cannabis “intentionally to taper off prescription medications.” A similar  2017 analysis of Canadian-registered cannabis patients reported that most subjects self-reported substituting marijuana for prescription drugs, particularly opioids. And in a separate review of over 1,500 New England state-qualified patients, researchers reported that  patients typically used medical cannabis as a replacement for opioids. That is noteworthy because unlike opioids, marijuana is not physically addictive.

If Trump was serious about addressing the so-called “opioid epidemic” and serious in saying it warrants the government’s full resolve, he would embrace any means of actually addressing the issue. The issue is not new and in great part the work of the pharmaceutical industry; the same industry waging a war against cannabis legalization, even for medicinal purposes. Let’s face it, the drug companies do not want the issue to go away and they certainly don’t want people having a relatively “free” prophylactic against an addictive drug big pharma is getting rich off of. The idea that grandma can grow a weed in the backyard that prevents her from buying prescription pain killers is not one the pharmaceutical companies will countenance.

Is cannabis a miracle drug? Of course not, there is no such thing. However, it has been used “medicinally” for 10,000 years as a remedy for everything from inflammation to infection to memory loss to nervous disorders to being a stunningly effective cure for some forms of cancer. One of the primary reasons it is still illegal is because anyone with some dirt, a seed, and a little water can grow their own “medicine” depriving big pharma from making money.

It is also noteworthy to mention that because Congress or Trump are not screaming for appropriations to help combat the “epidemic,” likely to save money to pay for tax cuts for the rich, decriminalizing reefer will cost the federal or state governments nothing whatsoever. And as the states that have decriminalized the weed have demonstrated, regulating the sales and dispensation of cannabis is an incredible source of revenue for law enforcement, drug treatment, healthcare and education.

Like reducing opioid deaths, marijuana legalization will not end not the epidemic by any means and to claim it would is wrong. However, the substantial reduction in deaths, addiction, traffic deaths and hospitalizations is very significant and is already doing monumentally more than just making meaningless pronouncements or throwing people in jail.

Marijuana isn’t for everyone, that is a fact. But for at least thirty years the “weed” has been studied extensively and demonstrated to be effective at reducing what Trump claims is a national emergency. Instead of making ineffective pronouncements, Trump and his Republican Congress could easily decriminalize weed nationwide and actually see results within a year according to the empirical data that has been so widely available it is curious the medical community is not screaming for legalization. But apparently like Trump, Sessions and Republicans in Congress, even the medical community is opposed to cutting into the pharmaceutical and private prison industry profits.

Jeff Sessions’ Task Force On Marijuana Tells Him to Back Off

Anyone remotely familiar with the appeal to men with low self-esteem of religion as a means to control other humans should recognize what drives a nasty lying piece of work like Trump’s “beleaguered” attorney general J. Beauregard Sessions. It seems that except for the criminals and perjury-prone cretins in the Trump administration, Sessions has been desperate to send people to jail. But instead of pursuing the easy targets like the Trump’s, Kushner, Pence, and himself, Sessions wants to prosecute and imprison journalists for doing their jobs, protestors exercising their Constitutional rights, and Americans who legally use marijuana; whether for the weed’s well-documented medicinal properties or recreational enjoyment.

For a person who has invested a fair amount of time researching the benefits of cannabis as an alternative to enriching the pharmaceutical industry, it is beyond comprehension that any half-intelligent human being wants to imprison marijuana users, no matter their reason for partaking. Sessions has been on a crusade since he lied to the Senate to earn confirmation as attorney general to find some connection between a non-existent rise in extreme violent crime and marijuana use, whether for medicine or recreation.

Sessions, a perjurer who has zero comprehension of what he’s talking about, has assailed marijuana as dangerous as heroin and regularly blames its use for spikes in extreme violence. Those patently false assertions are what he’s used in promising to change existing pot policy to throw a lot of innocent people in prison since he took office six months ago. This is a curious departure from “state’s rights” Sessions who has bristled at the idea of federal courts striking down Republican state’s laws that violate various Constitutional amendments guaranteeing equality to all Americans. State’s rights are only valid, in Sessions’ mind, if they foster discrimination or subvert Americans’ right to vote.

Early in his tenure at the Department of Justice, Session hand-picked a task force consisting of law enforcement, prosecutors, and religious conservatives to develop a reason to attack legal marijuana use and throw some Americans in prison and stomp on the 10th Amendment in the process. The big problem for Sessions was revealed accidentally late this week when the Associated Press got access to portions of a recommendation report from his “Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.” In February when he convened the public safety task force, Sessions lied and said “We’re seeing real violence around that [decriminalization]. Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana decriminalization than anyone knows.”

Sessions didn’t want the report released for public consumption and he didn’t have any comment when the non-recommendation report was revealed, and there is a damn good reason. Beauregard “bible” Sessions didn’t want the results of the “task force” released because the cops and prosecutors fundamentally said there are no recommendations; or reasons to follow through on any of Sessions’ anti-pot plans.  The short conclusion was the cops and prosecutors “don’t think anything should change.”

According to the task force’s report, the cops and prosecutors believe that the federal government’s Justice Department has more important work to do than hunt down pot-users and throw them in jail. They argued that Sessions should leave the Obama-era “hands-off” approach to states with legalized weed in place whether legalization is for recreational or medicinal use.  Of course Sessions doesn’t have to heed the task force’s recommendation, but at least now he can’t lie and claim his “hand-picked” task force pushed him to pursue pot to stop violent crime; a claim that is absurd on its face and not factual whatsoever.

As noted in the AP report, the nature of the “wait and see” of the task force’s recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on decriminalized marijuana. Although there are some in law enforcement that might support a tougher approach, in March there was a bipartisan group of senators who “urged” Sessions to uphold the existing marijuana policy and leave the states alone. There is also a group of congressional representatives and senators who are actively seeking ways to not only protect legalized marijuana use, but to help promote the industry and help it succeed and prosper.

According to a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force, the “vague recommendations were likely intentional to reflect the understanding that shutting down the entire pot industry is neither palatable nor possible.”  John Hudak said:

If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails.”

Sessions’ threats to embark on a federal crackdown crusade have united liberals and conservatives to oppose his plan to attack pot use and legalization. Humanitarians oppose the Sessions’ war on pot because of the “human costs of a failed war on drugs,” and conservatives see it as a states’ rights issue and none of the federal government’s business. In fact, many members of Congress and decriminalization advocates were fearful that the task force would give Sessions the green light to dismantle what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar industry that is helping fund schools, healthcare, educational programs and particularly law enforcement.

The director of conservative outreach at the Marijuana Policy Project, Don Murphy, joined decriminalization advocates in celebrating the task force’s recommendation to “butt out.” Mr. Murphy said in a statement:

The task force’s recommendations reflect the fact that the Dept. of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses. In states that have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, these businesses are creating jobs, generating revenue, protecting consumers, and making their communities safer. The vast majority of Americans want the federal government to let states determine their own marijuana policies. We hope the attorney general is paying attention and maintains the current policy of non-interference.

It remains to be seen if Sessions is paying attention, but if that is a problem he has, there was just a long-term study released that revealed that cannabis use is a means of controlling people’s problems paying attention if they suffer from ADHD or HDD. And, since Sessions has a severe memory problem and couldn’t remember how many secret meetings he had with Russian agents helping Trump’s campaign, a different study revealed that chronic pot use does, in fact, help people with memory loss issues. Beauregard should smoke a couple of bowls a day, lose that stupid bible, regain his memory and increase his attention span; America would be better served and he might stop being such a monumental evangelical dick.