Bipartisan Resolve To Defend Marijuana Proves Sessions’ Folly

Molon labe.

As Brian Heuberger reported for the Colorado Statesman this week, there may be Republicans in Colorado willing to publicly support parts of the new administration’s agenda–but on the subject of Colorado’s legal marijuana industry, which is under direct threat from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, there is no daylight between Colorado Republicans and Democrats:

With U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hinting that the Trump administration might intensify the enforcement of federal marijuana laws, Colorado leaders from both sides of the aisle have come to the defense of the state’s legal marijuana industry in an uncommon show of solidarity in what many consider to be divisive political times of unmatched proportion.

High-level Colorado politicians like Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper have both publicly defended what has become a lucrative recreational marijuana industry for the state. And many other state officials have joined them in contending that Colorado has a constitutional right to legalize marijuana and that the regulations established by the state have been statistically proven to have been effective so far.

Supporters are quick to emphasize the positive economic impact the industry has had in Colorado and the likely downward economic spiral that would occur should that now-bustling industry be tampered with by the federal government.

Likewise, both Rep. Mike Coffman and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman are promising to fight any move by Sessions to clamp down on marijuana in Colorado:

Rep. Mike Coffman is suggesting he might use the power of the purse to protect Colorado’s legal marijuana industry…

If Sessions does take action Coffman said he’d “have to fight the Attorney General on this.” He suggested he’d do so through congress’ power to appropriate money for the administration’s budget.

Colorado’s Republican attorney general, Cynthia Coffman—a legalization opponent who says she would defend state law against Sessions—speculated, “It sounds like there is room for states to have legalization … But what it seems to portend is the federal government will be at the borders to stop marijuana from crossing state lines.”

The reason why you have all of these public officials in both parties standing shoulder-to-shoulder on marijuana, despite the fact that most of them opposed legalization to begin with, is that the experience of legalized marijuana in Colorado has rendered the issue moot here. Public support has grown, not declined, since Colorado led the way into a legalization trend that has now grown to numerous states–including all-important California, the most populous state in the nation.

In short, on this issue, our local Republicans and Democrats are responding to the clear wishes of their constituents. They know that to join Sessions on a crusade against legal pot would be politically disastrous for Colorado Republicans at this point. And the fact is, if Sessions does decide to shut down Colorado’s billion-dollar legal marijuana industry and in the other legalized states, Republicans could pay dearly at the polls in the next election all over the country including Colorado–regardless of what local Republicans do to oppose it.

So be at least a bit reassured, stoners. For the moment, both parties have got your back.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Paging Moldy, party of one. Your table is ready. 

  2. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    Credit where it's due. Both sides are stepping up and defending the votes of their citizens, I don't care for the stuff, myself,  but I sure do like all that nice tax money we're raking in. It looks like other states were salivating over the money, too; which is why legalization referenda are popping up all over. If the Feds had any sense (I made a funny), they'd get hip to a new source of revnue, too.

  3. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    And, BTW, When are actual doctors going to call the Feds bluff on medical research on cannabis? Isn't about time NIH did some testing on real cannabis rather than that sorry patch of ditchweed they've been growing and breeding back on itself at the University of Mississippi for the last 70 years?

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Spot on, skinny. If Trump is looking for savings in the federal budget he might start there and then contract the work out to the grown-ups in Israel.  

      God bless our freedumbs! Only in Merrika could we simultaneously have cannabis on Schedule 1 and our government owning the patent for its medicinal use. 

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        While Sessions wants you to believe 'the marijuanas' are for bad people, the ones of the legally-prescribed nature continue to take their toll on everyday Americans.

        Approximately 80 percent of the global opioid supply is consumed in the United States.

        The 300 million pain prescriptions equal a $24 billion market, Koffler said, but it's not a market evenly divided around the globe. Rampant use of opioids in the United States, which represents only 5 percent of the global population, points to a larger divide between affluent nations and the rest of the world when it comes to prescription painkillers.

        The 80 percent figure for U.S. consumption has been cited in various studies, including a December 2014 Express Script report. The latest year for which fatality statistics are available is also 2014: 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses, according to the CDC — the highest number on record. More than 14,000 of these deaths were linked to prescription opioids (an increase in this category of 693 since 2013), or roughly 40 deaths per day.

        But why bother BigPharma (they won't) with such statistics when they fund entire political campaigns?  It's much easier to go after a disproportionate number of black and brown people and keep yet another powerful lobby, the Private Prison Industrial Complex, rich and happy?

        In other news, there are a number of scientific studies (yes, they're real, Moldy)  that support the premise that cannabis has extensive health applications. (Many of these sub-components of the plant are bountiful in the industrial hemp plant.  Last year, Colorado farmers grew half of the industrial hemp in the entire United States.    

        The list of benefits to medical marijuana continues to grow. It is currently used primarily for chronic pain, to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and to improve appetite in AIDS patients. It has also shown promise in regulating blood sugar and slowing the progression of HIV. It is also being researched as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

        Studies have shown that CBD suppresses seizures, stops the mestastasis of many aggressive cancers and may even kill leukemia cells.

        A 2013 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD was just as effective as a popular antipsychotic drug in the treatment of schizophrenia and paranoia, but without the dangerous side effects. Other studies have confirmed the effectiveness of CBD as a safe antipsychotic.

        Although marijuana remains technically illegal under U.S. federal law, it is legal to use CBD for research or for limited medical functions in 17 U.S. states. The medical use of marijuana itself is legal in 23 other states.

        The words used, even in articles like this, often confuse people.  Both marijuana and industrial hemp are the genus Cannabis.  Just like your chihuahua and your St. Bernard are both dogs.  What separates marijuana (not a scientific word) from industrial hemp is the level of THC, the threshold being .3%.  Schedule 1 doesn't differentiate between hemp-derived products and those coming from marijuana.  To the feds, it's all treated as the dreaded 'marijuana' with certain exemptions for the stalk of the plant.  

        Our trolls can hate on cannabis – but their comments generally expose their ignorance. For Pear's benefit, I'm not conflicted on this issue, either.  I support ending Prohibition on the entirety of the cannabis plant.  I just happen to work in the policy field on the industrial hemp side of the industry.  Creating cannabis opportunities for our farmers is a good thing


  4. JohnInDenver says:

    Interesting that George Brauchler is on page 2A of the Post, under the headline "16 people indicted in massive home-grown marijuana operation across Denver area". He is apparently shocked … shocked, I say … to find out that criminal enterprise happens in the light of day.

    “These were transactions that were taking place not under the cover of darkness,” Brauchler said. “Not in the far reaches of this jurisdictions. There were hundreds of pounds of marijuana being exchanged in the parking lot of a school in Aurora, a parking lot of a Starbucks near Castle Pines.”

    Suppose there is some Republican positioning for future political endeavors?


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