Attorney General Jeff Sessions once said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
America appears to disagree. A new Gallup poll on U.S. attitudes about marijuana shows that support for legalization is higher than it’s been in five decades, and also that a majority of Republicans now support legalization.
“Americans continue to warm to legalizing marijuana, with 64 percent now saying its use should be made legal,” Gallup reported Wednesday. “This is the highest level of public support Gallup has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement.”
And as for Sessions’ own Republican Party?
“Democrats and independents have historically been much more likely than Republicans to say marijuana should be legalized,” Gallup notes. Yet, “This year for the first time, a majority of Republicans express support for legalizing marijuana; the current 51 percent is up nine percentage points from last year.”
So, among Democrats, independents and Republicans, self-identified GOP members are still the least likely to support marijuana legalization, and yet now a majority of Republicans do.
President Trump’s top lawman isn’t among them. Sessions is firmly against it and has even signaled he would like to crack down on states that have legalized the drug, including those allow it for medical purposes to help people who are sick and dying.
I’ve made the case that Sessions is woefully out of step with the country on the issue of civil asset forfeiture — police stealing your property without charge, due process or recourse. This practice has wrecked the lives of countless innocent people. To the degree that Americans even understand what it is, there has been something close to a national consensus to reject it.
But public opinion apparently makes no difference to Sessions. His take on civil asset forfeiture? “I love that program.”
So it should be no surprise that Sessions doesn’t care what most Americans, or even most Republicans, think about marijuana legalization either.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder has said Sessions seems to have an “almost obsession with marijuana.” He’s right. Sessions is a cartoon version of what many think of conservatives — dinosaurs wandering aimlessly through contemporary culture with no connection to the average person, eternally stuck in the 1950s. The image would be funny if it weren’t so woefully applicable to the current Attorney General.
Jeff Sessions isn’t just wrong. He’s embarrassing.