In the face of overwhelming opposition, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has doubled down on the War on Drugs. Specifically, the War on legal marijuana. He announced last week that the federal government is going to start enforcing federal marijuana laws again in states that have legalized marijuana.
At first glance, this looks like a major step backwards on the road to ending the government practice of invading private property, kidnapping non-violent people, stealing their money and valuables, and then locking them in cages for the “crime” of possessing a plant unapproved of by the federal government.
This will backfire on the Sessions and his drug warrior cronies, however. In fact, this may be the spark that ignites the flame of legal marijuana across the entire Unites States.
The Best Way to Get Rid of a Bad Law
Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”
His point is that if an unjust law is enforced sporadically, or unevenly throughout a population, it is likely to stay on the books forever. It can then become a tool for law enforcement and corrupt politicians to use against specific enemies or groups. If only some of the population is made to suffer the indignities of an unjust law, the rest of the population isn’t likely to force a change since it doesn’t concern them personally.
However, once an entire population is forced to endure the unjust law, they will quickly rise up and force its repeal.
The backlash that the Trump administration will get for strictly enforcing federal marijuana laws in legal marijuana states will quickly lead to a reversal on this new policy.
The Legal Marijuana Revolution
Today, over half of the population lives in a state with some form of legal marijuana. Every election cycle more states are legalizing it. This is a tidal wave that can not be stopped. People are realizing that letting individuals consume a plant that has countless medical applications, and is impossible to overdose on, isn’t as scary as the fear-mongers led us to believe it would be. State governments are also realizing that the extra tax revenue gives them more power and money.
Now that individuals, particularly sick and dying individuals, are seeing the benefits of legal marijuana, it’s going to be that much harder to convince them to go back to the old ways. Same goes for state governments that are flush with a new source of revenue in the form of marijuana taxes.
In fact, even before one soul has been sent to federal prison under this new policy, states are already fighting back. Vermont just became the first state to pass a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Republican Governor Phil Scott has indicated he will sign the measure into law.
Imagine what will happen when a cancer patient is sent to prison in a state where they are legally allowed to consume marijuana. Even if Sessions and his marijuana Gestapo are smart enough to leave sick and dying individuals alone, they are sure to shut down dispensaries where sick and dying patients get their medicine from, thus causing huge backlash.
If Sessions wants to keep marijuana illegal, the last thing he should be doing is going after sick and dying patients and the dispensaries that supply them their much needed medication.
They’re not just for Republicans anymore! Thanks to Sessions and his crusade against non-violent, consenting adults who are buying, selling, and consuming a plant without permission from the federal government, Democrats are actually making arguments in favor of State’s Rights! This puts typically anti-pot Republicans in a difficult position. Either go against State’s Rights or side with Democrats. Either way they’re going to have backlash.
If their base sees them as siding with Democrats against Sessions, they may be viewed as weak. If they side with Sessions against State’s Rights, they are potentially giving up a huge tool in any future fight against federal overreach in other areas. With public opinion overwhelmingly in favor of legal marijuana, and with many prominent Republicans already criticizing Sessions, it looks like the State’s Rights argument will eventually defeat Sessions.
The Future of Legal Marijuana
In 2013, then President Obama released a memo saying he would no longer obstruct states that have legalized marijuana. Up until then, the Obama administration had waged a war on legal marijuana that would make Jeff Sessions blush. The Obama administration had conducted more raids on legal dispensaries than the previous 12 years combined. Obama’s first term saw $100 billion more spend on interfering with legal marijuana laws than under 8 years of Bush.
The backlash from this caused Obama to cease this federal overreach in 2013. If a President coming off a landslide victory for his 2nd term couldn’t get away with interfering with the legal marijuana industry, a widely despised Sessions working under an unpopular Trump administration has no chance.
Prominent leaders in both major parties are in favor of legalization and, more importantly, the population is ready for legal marijuana. With an almost cartoonishly evil Sessions in charge of a renewed federal crusade against peaceful pot users, it won’t be long until this becomes a wedge issue. In fact, with the level of hatred that already exists for Sessions, those of us on the side of not throwing non-violent people in cages for consuming a plant couldn’t ask for a better adversary. We may even see more states following Vermont’s lead and legislating legalization sooner than they otherwise would have just to spite Sessions and his unpopular crusade.
You may also like this from Mike Tront – Marijuana Can Be a Victory for Libertarians, Unless We Screw it Up
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