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Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and Reefer Madness

Friday, May 19, 2017 17:42
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Gnome Takes Axe to Drug War Reform

John Grant

Good people don’t smoke marijuana.
         - Jeff Sessions

Gage ain’t nothin’ but medicine.
         - Louis Armstrong

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
         - Matthew 5:7 (The words of Jesus Christ)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent a memo to all federal attorneys (those he hasn’t fired) setting in motion a radical reversal of the trend toward bi-partisan reform that has been building for years in the criminal justice system and the drug war. The memo states: “Any inconsistent previous policy of the Department of Justice related to these matters is rescinded, effective today.”

This flies in the face of a reform movement building for at least a decade that has led to 30 states reforming their criminal justice systems in the area of mass incarceration. Sessions would, from the top down, re-establish “the sort of mass incarceration strategy that helped flood prisons during the war on drugs in the 1980s and 1990s,” according to The New York Times. “We’re going to double down on an approach everybody else has walked away from,” says Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Sessions has personally emphasized a particular disdain for marijuana, as in the remark cited above. The federal government, of which Sessions is the top lawman, has adamantly refused to ease its marijuana laws as state after state modifies or legalizes their laws.

A call for prayer, a pipe and the New York Times. (Photo left, Lou Ann Merkle, right, John Grant)A call for prayer, a pipe and the New York Times. (Photo left, Lou Ann Merkle, right, John Grant)

As I read this stuff, all I can think is Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a guy who needs to smoke a doobie. It must be incredibly stressful being attorney general in an administration in tragic free-fall, especially after he was forced to recuse himself on the intense Russia collusion investigation due to lying about his own meetings with Russians. Meanwhile, profound change is in the air as the nation’s business is rapidly being consumed into a wildly expanding internet-connected world that threatens to unravel life as we know it. Narrow-minded concerns like re-toughening sentencing for drug offenses seems dangerously out-of-synch with the times. There is so much research on the tenets of harm reduction as an alternative approach to incarceration and the ideas of a “war” on drugs that to suddenly wind the clock backwards now is tantamount to a crime in itself. One has to wonder: What’s up with this fellow from Alabama?

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