One of the most famous initiatives from the Reagan Administration is the "Just Say No" campaign. But despite pushing the anti-drug line in the 1980s, one former Justice Department official is now calling out Jeff Sessions for being on the wrong side of the marijuana debate.
Bruce Fein is an attorney who served as Associate Deputy Attorney General from 1981 to 1982 and general counsel to the Federal Communications Commission during the Reagan Administration. In an op-ed for the Washington Times, Fein criticized President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions for their opposition to the Rohrabacher Medical Marijuana Amendment, a law that protects states that have legalized medical marijuana from intervention by the federal government.
Fein accuses both Trump and Sessions of hypocrisy for their opposition to the amendment. He points out that Trump promised to “make medical marijuana widely available to patients, and allow states to decide if they want to fully legalize pot or not," while on the campaign trail in 2016. And he notes that as a senator, Sessions repeatedly opposed the federal government intervening in states' rights on issues such as voting rights and immigration, and as Attorney General has instructed the Department of Justice to institute less oversight of local police departments.
While Fein makes excellent points in those regards, his op-ed also delves a bit too much into hyperbole. He says that every dollar spent on investigating medical marijuana is a dollar not being spent on national security, which is true. But then he writes, "Every federal dollar expended investigating or prosecuting medical marijuana businesses is a dollar unavailable to detect and prosecute international or home-grown terrorists. In other words, to oppose the Medical Marijuana Amendment is to provide material assistance to ISIS and other international terrorist organizations."
He also later says, "Every member of Congress should recognize that a vote against the Amendment is a vote in favor of ISIS, al Qaeda, and sister international terrorist organizations."
That's probably a little extreme, to put it lightly. Opposing the medical marijuana amendment is probably not going to embolden terrorists and put the country at risk for an attack. But it does waste resources that could be used for far more important issues.
But besides the whole ISIS stuff, he makes some pretty good points.