US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been sent to the Island of Misfit Toys—there to spend eternity in limbo, watching a TV that only plays CNN and wiping his watery eyes. My phone exploded last week minutes after word of his resignation hit the air. There was a popping sound, and conflict mineral shrapnel flew around the room.
To look cool in front of my friends, I made some easy digs at him. “Better lock up the silverware.” “Too many steps up the Hill, huh?” “Look out, ladies.” That sort of thing.
I've spent a lot of time in these pages mocking Sessions and making fun of his horrible face, but the truth is I've always felt bad for the little guy. People say he's evil incarnate, but I've always seen a frightened, confused man trying to navigate the eschaton. Someone once told him the world was black and white, and it stuck.
When I was a kid in high school, I once overheard two older boys in the school courtyard laughing about all the loser freshmen who hadn't even smoked pot yet. One of them scanned the courtyard, and I knew before he saw me that I was about to become his next victim. “Look at this guy! You know he's never smoked any pot! Haw haw!” Scott walked over to me for a better look. He slung a thick arm around my shoulders. “I like you, kid! Haw haw! Let's go get high right now!”
My eyes widened. “Isn't that stuff addictive?” I asked. Scott just looked at me. This was in 1998. The internet was around, but it was mostly Star Trek chat rooms and GeoCities. I say my ignorance was excusable.
Now thrust yourself way, way back to when Sessions was a teenage braggart. That would be somewhere around 1961—about two decades before the internet was even invented—at Wilcox Central High in Camden, Ala. Back then he'd have been lucky to have a decent library in his shitheel town. Maybe he'd meet someone special who could introduce him to novel ideas to throttle his worldview and make him think a little. More likely—as was clearly the case—poor Sessions just swallowed everything he was told and let it settle in over the next 50 years. One day he picked his head up and looked around to find the world had been overrun by hippies and communists. Boys were dressing like girls and lunatics with PhDs were saying that marijuana was good for you.
One thing it's good for is teaching you empathy, something sorely missed in our culture. I've often wondered if the “paranoia” people feel on cannabis is just the pressing weight of empathy. It suddenly drags you kicking and screaming to an angle where you can see yourself the way others see you. It can be scary, for sure. Sessions could probably use some of that.
It let me see the world the way he does: tinged with red—bristling with sharp corners and populated by money-grubbing madmen willing to throw our country's youth away for a quick buck. What if cannabis really was the Devil? What if it actually was a gateway drug capable of undermining the very moral fabric of our society? No wonder he had that look of panic in his eye at every turn—the look of a man flabbergasted and on the verge of tears. In another life, Sessions could have been a hero. He just got the wrong set of instructional input. He probably needs a real bear hug. I guess I could send him a letter (he doesn't use Twitter) letting him know he isn't universally hated …
Well. I hadn't planned to spend so much time talking about it. I suppose I'll miss the ol' Sesh. I had a pretty good running gag about him turning into a stone gargoyle on top of the Robert F. Kennedy building every night when the sun went down. I would've loved to have used it a few more times. C'est la vie.
I'll just have to come up with something worse for the next jag off. And if you're still doing cartwheels and singing hosannas, then you should probably take a break and think about the future. It isn't strictly cannabis-related, so I'm leery to mention it, but Sessions getting fired had nothing to do with his drug policy. Most likely it had everything to do with the fact that he recused himself from the Mueller Russia investigation. He was replaced by his chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, who has been outspoken against the investigation on numerous occasions, including a 2017 op-ed he wrote for CNN, in which he said the investigation into Russian election meddling was “dangerously close” to “crossing a line” if it investigated President Donald Trump's finances.
So that's who'll be in charge of certain key aspects of the investigation, like whether to subpoena the president or approve criminal charges of individuals in the case. He'll also have control over what parts of Mueller's final report get published, if any.
And the future looks sour, too. If Whitaker is given the position permanently, the cannabis industry in particular could be in for a shitstorm. While running in the Republican primary for US Senate in Iowa, he criticized the Department of Justice for declining to prosecute cannabis violations in states where it was legal. And who knows what could happen if it's someone else?
Headlines are currently trumpeting Chris Christie as a possible replacement, which could be good for us, considering he recently seemed to flip-flop on the legalization issue. Traditionally (and fervently) anti-marijuana, Christie told a crowd at Politicon last month that he had been convinced that it was a states' rights issue. He would later go on to say “states have the right to do what they want to do on this.”
I just can't bring myself to endorse Chris-