Thursday, January 04, 2018


This move is meant to appeal to someone, though I'm not sure who it is, unless it's just Jeff Sessions doing something to please himself, or himself and his boss:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, creating new confusion about enforcement and use just three days after a new legalization law went into effect in California.

... Instead of the previous lenient-federal-enforcement policy, Sessions’ new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it.
Ken White at Popehat believes this won't have a practical effect on the typical pot smoker, mostly because the feds can prosecute only a limited number of cases per year; on the other hand, it will "increase ambiguity and risk" for legal-pot entrepreneurs and "deter more mainstream businesses" -- banks, landlords -- "from getting involved in the industry."

Why is this happening? Does Sessions, as some believe, just want to use this to throw people of color in prison? (It seems to me that many of the targets of a crackdown would be white people of the kind deemed "elitists" by the GOP, i.e., "cultural elitists," which is the right's term for anyone with a little money and non-conservative social values.) Does Sessions want to please his boss, a man who boasts of living a drug- and alcohol-free life?

Or is this just the usual right-wing epistemic closure, with age also a factor? Sessions and Trump are both 71 years old. They hark back to a time when upright citizens regarded marijuana as a scourge and no one outside the medical community used the word "opioid." With regard to weed, they're still living on the left side of this graph:

Of course, a substantial percentage of Republicans are also still living on the left side of the graph. Here, via Polling Report, is the party breakdown on a 2017 Quinnipiac poll question about marijuana:

Once again, as on so many other issues, up to and including the suitability of Donald Trump to be president, it's the GOP vs. the rest of the country. The numbers in this 2017 CBS poll aren't quite as stark, but the outlier group is still obvious:

Why is the "Real American" party always at odds with real Americans?


... And yes, I know: Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican from the legal-pot state of Colorado, is protesting the Sessions decision. But Gardner is clearly in his party's minority.


And (via Yastreblyansky):

A 2016 Pew survey says that even Republicans believe there are too many drug criminals in prison. But they say this by only a 51%-44% margin. It's 70%-27% among Democrats and 61%-35% among independents.


UPDATE, FRIDAY: New Pew poll, same partisan skew.

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