Marijuana has a long history of cultivation and usage in ancient and modern civilizations. With its history suggested to date back to about 12,000 years, scientists and other professionals have found burnt cannabis seeds in Asian tombs dating back to 3,000 BCE. The advent of widespread hatred for this and other drugs is a fairly recent occurrence. In the early 20th century, the American government started to shift to a mindset of harm reduction for its citizens, leading to the prohibition of alcohol. Crime skyrocketed as alcohol was sold wildly on the black market, and in response, Harry Anslinger was put in charge of an armed force to enforce the new laws. When the prohibition ended, Harry, most likely looking to keep his power, build upon the existing stereotypes of Mexican men and blamed their supposed high amount of crimes on marijuana.
This history leads us to today, where Jeff Sessions, our Attorney General, is notable for having a strong anti-marijuana stance. This is modern day prohibition, and we seem to be repeating a dangerous part of history all over again.
Recent polls show that more than 65% of Americans are indeed in favor of cannabis legalization for recreational use. And over 80% favor it for medical use, especially for veterans suffering from PTSD. But then there is Jeff Sessions, who seems to be in the minority. He said, “I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.” But in reality, it is the anti-marijuana laws that destroy lives with lengthy prison sentences and ripping families apart. Small note: There have been no recorded deaths from use of marijuana. But we all knew that. Jeff Sessions seems to disagree.
While US federal law states that it is illegal to possess, cultivate, or distribute marijuana, several states have stepped up and wrote partial or full legalization into their law books. According to the Constitution, federal law overrides state law, and the enforcing of this rule is what the higher-ups in power, like Mr. Sessions, are in charge of doing, if they decide to do so. He grew up in Alabama, a notoriously conservative state, and became an Assistant US Attorney in that state right after Nixon, the declarer of the war on drugs, left office in 1974. This may point to why he has such an extreme stance on such a minuscule problem, if such exists.
So Jefferson Sessions is a threat, and the masses do not agree with his stance on marijuana. He has the power to undo all of the work that marijuana activists have worked so hard to achieve. Do not let him scare you, keep fighting and maybe, he will back down on this useless war on drugs.