We find ourselves back to an original legal problem: Someone in power is using their opinion to overturn marijuana legalization laws, even though the majority have a different stance. From the early 1900s until now, medical professionals have proven the many inaccuracies inherent to the anti-weed propaganda during this tired prohibition. Sessions denies these results because of his belief that "good people don’t smoke marijuana."
Who can beat that medical assessment?
Now Sessions is rescinding the Cole Memo and guiding the DEA and other agencies towards investigating and indicting those who consume marijuana. The federal government now has a choice to pursue involvement in the cannabis industry. And Sessions is not the cannabis industry's only problem.
As Sessions brings the hammer down on marijuana and state-level success around it, more states continue to push towards medical or recreational marijuana legalization. But consider the corporations and agencies who may have a vested interest in keeping it illegal. Sessions at this moment still has the FDA and the DEA to fall back on. They need to be involved in reproaching the attorney's opinion. And private prisons stand to lose a lot of money by not being able to hold onto marijuana victims of injustice.
Since the Cole Memo began to take effect, the DEA has wound back its marijuana raids, but it seems to be eager to pursue any possible regulation-breaking providers. With the present go-ahead from the Department of Justice and funds that Sessions could allocate to them, the same group who believes that marijuana is at least as dangerous as most narcotic drugs can now get back to business.
Question is: Will they?
With 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, private prisons would have to take a serious loss in profit. For context, in 2010 over 80% of those arrests were for simple marijuana possession. Private prisons have been lobbying over the last couple of years to keep their presence, and removing such a large source of revenue could give them even less reason to exist.
Whether or not Sessions has any involvement with private prisons, his impact on marijuana legalization could make their lobbying a little easier. After all, everyone knows marijuana gets the harshest drug punishment.
Recently, the FDA received approval by the DEA to recognize a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana as a Schedule II drug. This is after attesting that there are no benefits to the natural plant. The FDA is a necessary player in passing marijuana as an effective medical product. But even if they were interested in more research, they still must reach a decision with the DEA's involvement.
The DEA is heavily included in the decision to approve drugs for research. Not only are they responsible for enforcing the law, they are included in the adding, editing, and deleting of drug research and regulations.
Predictions for the Future
It’s almost certain that marijuana will be legalized in some way. Sessions is pushing back on marijuana legalization yet states and citizens seem to be pushing back even harder. Legal marijuana states say they will fight the federal government to keep it legalized. Most citizens throughout the country either believe that is should be legal, don't care, or hope we can make a decision on it soon.
Shouldn't all of this be enough to reconsider?
Not for Sessions.
From Sessions and the DEA down to the FDA, our government will necessarily have some involvement in the outcome of this issue. If private prisons lobbyists see a drop of felony cannabis offenders, they may be lobbying for much more enforcement. Those who are vested in textiles may suffer from the legalization of hemp. Auto parts used with hemp are now being tested by private individuals and can quite possibly be built at a much lower cost. Full marijuana legalization will affect many things that most people care about, but a possible decrease in revenues to the government and corporations will certainly make this uphill battle even harder.
Marijuana legalization is in the future, but as of now, Sessions still has the upper fact-lacking hand.