Alibi V.27 No.24 • June 14-20, 2018 

Baked Goods

Summer Sessions Watch

AG Softens in the Heat

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Rob M.

For months, I've avoided mentioning my boyfriend: the illustrious Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Truth is the poor bastard's barely come down from his roost on top of the Robert F. Kennedy Building in D.C. All night he just sits up there, mumbling about the devil and swatting at invisible flies. One of his people asked him what a “pinko” was last week. He made a note in that black ledger he keeps neatly hidden in the fold of his wing. Everywhere—the enemies are closing in.

Cannabis' worst enemy is at the edge and ready to tip. At the end of May, President Trump dropped some harsh tweets on Sessions—whom the president reportedly refers to as “Mr. Magoo,” according to CNN. In the tweets, Trump quoted Rep. Trey Gowdy concerning Session's choice to recuse himself from the Russia investigation: “There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” To this, Trump added, “And I wish I did!”

Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes confirmed that he planned to convince Congress to hold Sessions in contempt of Congress after the attorney general ignored a subpoena. Nunes is investigating allegations that the Justice Department and the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act while looking into the Trump campaign.

So I doubt the old buzzard has had time to worry about the infectious spread of the devil weed across his once-beautiful and wholesome America. In fact, he seems to be flipping over on the subject (or maybe laying on his side, at least)—as mind-boggling as that might seem.

Yes. At the end of April, Sessions told a Senate panel that “there may well be some benefits from medical marijuana” and that studying it is “perfectly appropriate.” There were no reports of spontaneous combustion or projectile vomiting, either. He did continue to express doubts as to the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for opioids, the codger.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department's word is proving gold as federal agents moved into states where cannabis is legal over the last few months to conduct raids on illegal cannabis farms. An investigation in Seattle, Wash., last month unearthed an illegal grow operation that was allegedly funded by Chinese interests to funnel cannabis into the New York black market. In April, a similar investigation led authorities in Sacramento, Calif., to raid 75 homes suspected of growing black market cannabis for a Chinese crime syndicate.

Neither of these cases involved legal cannabis. Following the Sacramento operation, McGregor Scott, the US attorney for the Sacramento-based Eastern District of California, took the time to let reporters know that the raids had nothing to do with legal cannabis production. “This is illegal under anybody’s law,” he said.

At the end of May, Scott announced that his office would be prioritizing illegal cannabis and leaving the legal market alone for the time being. And state officials announced that the federal government was giving them $2.5 million to battle black market drug trade.

This is definitely not the crackdown we were all nervously waiting for, and it illustrates just how powerful public opinion has become on the subject. Sessions is playing along, even though he clearly hates it. Poor creature.

Trump Hints at Cannabis Support

And if you thought Sessions showing his soft little belly was crazy, you should take a deep breath before moving on. Last week, the unthinkable happened.

As Trump was getting ready to leave for the G7 summit, he was asked by reporters how he felt about a bipartisan reform bill, freshly introduced by Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. If passed, the bill will amend the Controlled Substances Act to protect individuals who use cannabis in states where it's legal and will reclassify transactions made in compliance with local laws—meaning they will no longer be considered “drug trafficking.” The bill will also distinguish between hemp and cannabis and remove the former from scheduling. The bill won't legalize cannabis, but it will tie the DOJ's hands in prosecuting anyone who legally has a right to use it.

In response to the reporters' questions, Trump said, “I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing, we’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

Cannabis in the Gubernatorial Race

Last week, Michelle Lujan Grisham was handed the Democratic nomination for governor. That means she'll be facing off against Republican Steve Pearce, who said he wouldn't support legalizing cannabis for adults in New Mexico because it would be an economic strain on those stricken by poverty (give him credit for originality).

And that sense from earlier this year—that we were inevitably headed toward legalization in 2019—has left me. Lujan Grisham has been warm and cool on the issue, saying more research is needed and that she would only sign legislation if it included “protections for kids, DWI, medical cannabis patients and sensible regulations.” Sounds sensible, but not very specific. And I still remember her saying she wanted to make sure the laws wouldn't “jeopardize the current New Mexico medical cannabis industry and existing producers.” I'm still uncomfortable with that statement and its implications about her motives.