We're wrapping up 2017 at Civilized by announcing the inaugural winner of the highly un-coveted Prohibitionist of the Year Award. There were a lot of candidates for the dishonor of being the top opponent of cannabis legalization in North America this year, but the clear winner is...
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who spouts anti-cannabis quotes like a talking 'Reefer Madness' doll.
Before taking office as Trump's top law enforcer, Sessions gave us many, many memorable anti-marijuana quotes. Like that time he said "good people don't smoke marijuana," or when he said he thought the KKK "were OK until I found out they smoke pot." So when he was sworn into the Trump administration last January, it looked like he might have already gone through all the crazy things he had to say about weed.
But Sessions proved us all wrong when he told people that marijuana was only "slightly less awful than heroin." Which is like saying sunburns are only slightly less awful than having your face melt off a la 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'
Heroin killed 12,989 Americans in 2015 alone. Meanwhile, marijuana has not killed anyone, ever. Even the DEA admits there has never been a fatal marijuana overdose. In fact, marijuana could help save the lives of addicts by helping them wean themselves off heroin and other opioids. And marijuana could also prevent even more people from becoming addicts since it is a safer alternative to the prescription painkillers that cause addiction in the first place.
But don't waste your breath trying to tell Sessions that. “Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse? Give me a break," Sessions said last February. For the record, Sessions does not have a background in science or any training in medical research — unless being named after two Confederate leaders makes you qualified to solicit medical advice in the Deep South.
Sessions' actions are even worse than his words though. Since becoming attorney general, he has repeatedly hinted at enforcing federal cannabis prohibition in states that have legalized recreational use. And he's even lobbied Congress for permission to sic the DEA on states that allow medical marijuana. That means if it wasn't for the sensible Republicans as well as Democrats on Capital Hill, patients with chronic pain, cancer, AIDS and other terrible conditions could be spending the New Year in prison for simply using medical marijuana.
On top of that, Sessions' Department of Justice is obstructing cannabis research that could vastly improve or even save the lives of sick people across the country, and his opposition to reforming America's outdated marijuana laws has stalled progress in states like Maine and Alaska.
And that's why Jeff Sessions is the undisputed Prohibitionist of the Year.