Anti-Pot Zealot Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) Compares the Marijuana Industry to Modern Day Slavery

On Tuesday morning, during a congressional subcommittee hearing on cannabis reforms, Texan Republican Representative Pete Sessions outrightly likened the cannabis industry to slavery. His outburst did not go unnoticed, as several attendees at the event expressed their disapproval of his offensive choice of words. The very vocal mayor of Alabama called the congressman out, saying his comparison was flagrant and offensive.


This event was convened by the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives for a bipartisan congressional hearing pushing for the abolition of federal prohibition. Given the broad support for legalizing marijuana, it is evident that such reforms and adjustments to the law have been long overdue. Many Republicans, like Rep. Pete Sessions, a fervent opponent of marijuana legalization and the previous chair of the House Rules Committee, are opposed to it.

Placing Cannabis and Slavery Together in a Statement is Wrong

At a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which examined federal decriminalization and examined state and municipal activities on cannabis reform, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, stated that the idea of selling legal marijuana is what the reform supporters make it out to be, especially the investors.


Sessions explained that in legal states where the product is advertised and sold,  it is mainly supported by individuals who are in it to make money. He buttressed his point by comparing the budding cannabis industry with the defunct slave market saying, “slavery was a dreadful situation that this nation and the entire world endured for a very long time, and it generated significant revenue for individuals and the government.”


Sessions further stated that he had expected the hearing to emphasize more facts on the open harm that marijuana brings to our children, our communities, and the United States of America, among other things.


“Schedule 1 drugs, including marijuana, are devastating. They lead to substance abuse, crime, and mental health problems,” the congressman declared. In response to groups and congressmen who criticize the police, the congressman stated, “Today, I think it’s important for us to recognize folks that attack the police department.” He stressed that law enforcers safeguard communities to save people from lawbreakers and hazardous items.


Twenty minutes after Sessions’ observation, Randall Woodfin was questioned about the distinction between pardons and expungements by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York. According to a joint memorandum on cannabis released by the subcommittee the day before the hearing, Woodfin used a 1975 law to establish the Pardons for Progress program in Alabama. This measure absolves more than 15,000 residents of the city for marijuana possession convictions.


When he got on record, the Mayor immediately criticized Representative Sessions’ choice of words earlier. He stated that Session and his committee members made a grave mistake by classifying cannabis and slavery under the same group. He then replied to his question by describing how pardons are granted at the executive level, giving presidents, governors, and mayors the power to shorten sentences or free prisoners.


He clarified the significance of expungement, saying, “expungement is quite essential because it is done at the judicial level.” “And even if you forgive the conviction, using the pardons for progress programs, it could remain on record if offender applies for a job. Therefore, an expungement through the legal procedure enables the concealment of a person’s full record, which includes both the arrest and the actual charge.”

Descheduling Cannabis is Unavoidable

The hearing had seven witnesses give their opinions on the impact of cannabis criminalization, discrimination, incineration, and the other consequences of the government’s current cannabis schedule. The subcommittee chair, Jamie Raskin (D), worked across both groups in search of a way to revert the current listing of cannabis on the controlled substances schedule.


The witnesses were questioned during the allocated time by different subcommittee members about a variety of issues in state-legal markets, such as entry barriers, the significance of equity provisions, the reasons why banks are hesitant to work with cannabis clients, how veterans currently purchase medical cannabis, the rules regulating cannabis packaging and marketing, as well as how the archaic federal law has impacted the industry generally.


One of the witnesses who has worked extensively on marijuana policy change for over 30 years, Paul Armentano, executive director at NORML, argued that descheduling is required to bridge the widening and unacceptable gap between state and federal cannabis regulations.


As the hearing’s question-and-answer session progressed, Mace questioned Eric Goepel, the chief executive officer of the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, on the number of overdose fatalities linked to cannabis use. First, Goepel gave specifics about veteran suicides, overdoses, and toxic exposure in his opening statement. Then he explained that he doesn’t believe the CDC, DEA, NIDA [National Institute on Drug Abuse], or any other federal agency has ever directly correlated a fatal overdose with cannabis. Mace then asked for a specific answer, and Goepel replied that according to the federal government, the figure is zero.

More Remarks at the Hearing

While making his generic statements about controlled substances, Rep. Pete Sessions erroneously quoted some unfounded data to support his opposition to cannabis reforms. He added, “We talk about this matter being bipartisan, but I believe we also need to take into account all of the relevant facts, he added. If you look at the CDC, preliminary data shows that there were an anticipated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the US for the calendar year that ended in April 2021, which represents a 28.5% increase from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the previous year.”


It was later discovered that nowhere in the report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics reports quoted were the words “marijuana, THC, or cannabis” stated.

Bottom Line

It is not surprising that Sessions’ comments have been critiqued, seeing as it is coming at a time when, according to Texas NORML’s study of state arrests data, African Americans account for almost one-third of those who are detained for cannabis possession crimes in his home state of Texas, while making up only 13% of the state’s overall population. Cannabis reform supporters are optimistic that the hearing reports would hasten the implementation of federal cannabis reforms.





Source link

Previous Even Conservative Republican Voters in South Carolina Want Medical Marijuana Legalized Says New Voter Poll
Next Low T and Weed - Does Cannabis Lower or Raise Testosterone Levels in Men?