WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 10:04 a.m.

Weed Feed: Jeff Session’s Anti-Weed Letter to Congress Outed by Cannabis Blogger

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. | U.S. Justice Department.

As much of the country moves toward legalizing recreational weed, news spread last week that U.S. Attorney General and overall stick-in-the-mud Jeff Sessions called for the federal prosecution of the medical marijuana industry.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Sessions asked for the reversal of federal medical-marijuana safeguards put in place since 2014. The legislation in question, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to infringe upon a state’s decision to enact and enforce medical marijuana laws as it sees fit.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” The letter reads. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

While it’s not a shock that one of the more conservative leaning politicians in recent history opposes the devil’s lettuce, the outlet that broke the story was a bit of a surprise.

The May letter was first uncovered and reported on by long-time marijuana activist and relatively-unknown blogger Tom Angell of massroots.com. The pro-marijuana website is typically known for buzzier headlines like “Save Money on Your Wedding by Serving Cannabis Instead of Booze,” or “New Study Says Cannabis Doesn’t Give You A Sweet Tooth.”

This story however, was quickly picked up by mainstream news outlets like the Washington Post and Rolling Stone

When asked how he beat the mainstream media on this national story during a phone last week, he attributed his scoop to nothing more than good networking.

“A congressional staffer who I have developed a relationship with over the years sent it to me,” Angell told the Outpost. “I’m not willing to say too much about the person or what office they are from, but they’re from an office supportive of marijuana law reform.” 

When asked if he considered himself a journalist, or an activist blogger, Angell said he didn’t think the two had to be mutually exclusive.

“Both. I don’t necessarily see a contradiction,” he said. “Both of those professions are done in effort to get the truth. I started about 15 years ago as an activist, and in the past two years or so I’ve been acting as a journalist as well.”

Despite the ominous letter, state-regulated medical marijuana has been strongly supported by Democrats and Republicans in recent years. And while Angell has also reported in recent months that the future of state-regulated weed seems to be safe for now, he was hesitant to dismiss the threat Sessions’ letter posses to the future of state regulations.

“We do have a clear super majority who support medical marijuana, so if lawmakers listened to their constituents, prohibition would have ended a long time ago,” he said. “But as we see on many issues unfortunately, broad public support doesn’t always translate to policy change.”


The Weed Feed is a weekly column written by John Ross Ferrara.

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