WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives for an event at the Justice Department May 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. 
Win McNamee

Jeff Sessions moves forward with his regressive drug war

The Rachel Maddow Show, 6/12/17, 9:00 PM ET

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As Rachel noted on last night’s show, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has become a key player in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, and his Senate testimony this afternoon will hopefully bring some answers to important unanswered questions. But it’s against this backdrop that the far-right A.G. remains focused on his core priorities.

And in Sessions’ case, that means going after people who smoke pot. The Washington Post reports today that the nation’s attorney general recently urged congressional leaders to scrap protections for medical marijuana that received bipartisan approval in 2014.

The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

In his letter, first obtained by Tom Angell of Massroots.com and verified independently by The Washington Post, Sessions argued that the amendment would “inhibit [the Justice Department’s] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.”

Sessions’ letter, sent in May, insists that the nation is “in the midst of an historic drug epidemic,” which is why he wants the Justice Department to “use all laws available to combat” the problem.

Of course, the idea that the addiction epidemic has anything to do with medical marijuana is, if we’re being charitable, very difficult to take seriously. Indeed, the Post’s report added, “[R]esearch strongly suggests that cracking down on medical marijuana laws, as Sessions requested, could perversely make the opiate epidemic even worse.”

So why is Sessions doing this? Because he really, really hates marijuana.

Politico reported in December on the Alabama Republican’s record on the issue: “In April, he said, ‘Good people don’t smoke marijuana,’ and that it was a ‘very real danger’ that is ‘not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.’ Sessions … has called marijuana reform a ‘tragic mistake’ and criticized FBI Director James Comey and Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch for not vigorously enforcing the federal prohibition that President Obama has called ‘untenable over the long term.’”

It was clear before the election that a Donald Trump victory would almost certainly take the country backwards on drug policy. Sessions is now helping prove the point.

Drug Policy, Drugs, Jeff Sessions, Marijuana and War On Drugs

Jeff Sessions moves forward with his regressive drug war