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Sessions' Reefer Madness: The Irony of His Words on the 'Rule of Law'

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Whether you were for or against legal recreational marijuana doesn't matter at this point. As we all know, it's legal in California as of the New Year. But the stoned and sober alike can see the irony in AG Jeff Sessions' speech on restoring the "rule of law" in his recent rollback of the federal hands-off approach to bud during the Obama years.

As president, Obama "discouraged" the feds to leave the states alone. Despite marijuana's federal classification as a dangerous substance akin to heroin, prosecutors in districts across the U.S. were effectively told to focus their attention on more pressing matters.

It was a sort of limbo, a kind of reconciliation or balance between a federal government that has thus far refused to change its position on marijuana, and the many states that have outright done so by legalizing or decriminalizing it.

But marijuana's classification as a dangerous drug under federal law is about the only thing Sessions can hang his hat on in his speech about restoring the rule of law - otherwise, the only thing Sessions has done is make the law murkier, not clearer.

Strike One

A precondition to the "rule of law" is clear, consistent lawmaking. People need to know what the law is and how to operate under it. When Sessions rolled back Obama-era policy, the pot industry in states like California and Colorado suddenly found the law murkier, not clearer.

Strike Two

For those who believe in state rights and a smaller federal government, the move by California to legalize is a step in the right direction - or at least a step that should be respected by those in power, like Sessions, whether or not one supports an individual's right to choose to use marijuana.

Strike Three

Any way you slice it, California has exercised its legislative authority as a sovereign power, and while we're on the topic of states as "the laboratories of democracy," Sessions' rollback is inconsistent with explicit state legislative authority, which ideally should trump the authority of a capricious government agency and its leader of the moment.

Read More:

California's pot world sees 'reefer madness' in Sessions' assault on legal marijuana

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