Sherrilyn Ifill made the above comment earlier this week in response to Jeff Sessions’ recently praising drug enforcement policies of the 80s and 90s. According to Sessions, the drug prevention campaigns from those eras deserve applause for “telling the terrible truth about drugs.” But as has become absolutely typical for Mr. Sessions, he ignores the facts. Sessions fails to acknowledge that these abstinence-focused campaigns were both dreadfully expensive and a complete failure. Not surprisingly, Sessions also fails to mention how they increased imprisonment for drug-related crimes and disproportionately targeted people of color and the poor. Sessions’ also sloppily but deliberately lumps cannabis in with drugs like heroin, willfully ignoring that cannabis can be used medicinally and is not chemically addictive and is therefore — at least for anyone who looks at things at all objectively — very different.
Sessions wants to turn back time and employ ineffective and outdated drug enforcement policies and his reasons for wanting to start a new war on drugs are probably no different from Richard Nixon, who started that war to increase racial divides and thus scare white people into voting for him and his cronies (remember, Sessions was at one time deemed too racist to be a federal judge). No matter what the reason for Jeff Sessions’ by now perpetual hatred for marijuana and his aversion to telling the truth about it, our job as citizens is to resist. We probably already are at the point where Sessions’ statements will have little more impact than coyotes howling at the moon, but the more states that legalize, the more we can be sure that will be the case. We must continue pushing forward until cannabis is legalized all across the country and then we can merely laugh or ignore comments from people like Sessions.