The honeymoon between President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is over. And the rift between the commander-in-chief and his top law enforcer could be a huge win for the movement to legalize marijuana.
The Trump-Sessions tryst has allegedly been on the rocks since late April, when Sessions - bowing to pressure from Capitol Hill - recused himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties with Russia. That concession to Congress was unforgivable in Trump's eyes, according to Chris Cillizza of CNN.
"Sessions admitted he did something wrong," Cillizza wrote. "He made a concession that, in Trump's mind, is the root of many of the Russia-related problems he is now dealing with."
Since then, Trump's former favorite has become his whipping boy. Earlier this week, Trump blamed Sessions' Department of Justice for the problems the administration has had with passing a travel ban that would prevent people from Syria and 5 other predominantly Muslim countries from entering America.
The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Trump didn't mention Sessions by name in the tweet -- just like he isn't mentioning him in the White House much these days. At least not with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. When reporters asked Spicer if Trump had lost confidence in Sessions, Spicer said, "I have not had a discussion with him about that." Which is about as bad as saying 'let me think about it' when someone asks if you love them.
A Win for Cannabis Legalization
Sessions' falling out with Trump is great news for the legalization movement because the attorney general is one of the biggest cheerleaders for pot prohibition in America today. He's repeatedly flirted with the idea of cracking down on marijuana use across the country. Last March, he made the ridiculous claim that marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than heroin. And last year he said "good people don't smoke marijuana" during a Senate hearing.
His hatred of cannabis goes way back too. In 1986, Congress rejected the nomination of Sessions to hold a federal judgeship because of incendiary remarks that he had made in the past. Those remarks included that time Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan "were OK until I found out they smoked pot."
Since taking over as Attorney General, Sessions has had a chilling effect on state-legalized cannabis industries. Last February, state regulators in Alaska rejected a proposal to allow cannabis social clubs (like bars for marijuana) out of fear that Sessions might retaliate. More recently, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno said she opposed legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey because she didn't want to draw the ire of Sessions.
So progress on cannabis reform will slow to a crawl so long as Sessions helms the Department of Justice. And it might actually go in reverse. If Trump gave the go-ahead, Sessions could unleash the DEA on state-legalized marijuana industries. That means growers, dispensary workers, recreational cannabis consumers and even medical marijuana patients could all face criminal prosecution.
But that seems less and less likely to happen now that the attorney general is in Trump's doghouse. And if The Donald fires Sessions, it also seems unlikely that he could find a worse replacement when it comes to the issue of marijuana. Of course, there is the old saying that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. But in this case, Satan himself would probably be kinder to cannabis users.