Well, 4/20 is over. Hopefully revelers packed an extra bowl or two this year because it could be the last holiday they have for a while. As Trevor reported this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not exactly chill when it comes to cannabis.
Last month, Sessions gave a speech rejecting the idea of legalization outright, even going so far as to draw a parallel between pot and heroin. Recreational use aside, he’s also dismissed the use of medical marijuana, even though it’s been shown to reduce deaths from opioid abuse. Plus, he’s hired a virulently anti-drug, pro-prison advocate to be a top lieutenant in the Justice Department. So while Sessions has yet to make any concrete policy changes, the general consensus seems to be that the War on Drugs is back in full swing.
This may ruin the vibe not just for the illegal tokers but also for the Americans who live in the 29 states in which medical or recreational use is currently allowed. For whatever reason, Sessions just hates pot — and despite the fact that weed is projected to be a $21.8 billion business by 2020, it’s not legal on the federal level, which means the crackdown may come at any time. And all of this during a period when public support for legalization is at an all-time high!
While the attorney general plots revenge on America’s gentle pot smokers, the Trump administration has so far proven to be more talk than walk when it comes to solving a more serious drug problem: the opioid epidemic (prescription opioid overdoses claimed 19,000 lives in 2014 versus the zero deaths caused from marijuana overdoses). To be fair, Trump has convened a commission to tackle the issue. But his proposed budget includes huge cuts to institutions that treat people for addiction — including $100 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
If all this sounds ineffective, ill-conceived and potentially harmful, well, maybe Trevor’s right — maybe they’re all stoned. Or maybe they’re just in way over their heads.