As soon as President Trump announced his Attorney General (AG) appointee as Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, there was tension among medical cannabis advocates. Would Trump honor his campaign comments about state’s rights regarding medical marijuana, or would his new Attorney General be unleashed to increase the war on drugs using cannabis as his first target? Unfortunately, Trump’s Attorney General appointee Jeff Sessions has been quoted as saying heroin is only slightly worse than marijuana and "good people don’t smoke marijuana." And as the United States Attorney General, he is head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which houses the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). News reports this week revealed a letter Sessions sent to Congress last month seeking funding to go after medical cannabis operations in states where medical marijuana is legal. “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,” Sessions wrote in a letter to Republican and Democratic House and Senate leadership. “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.” Sessions reasons for going after medical cannabis were quickly exposed as false by many in the media. Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham wrote: Sessions’s citing of a “historic drug epidemic” to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books. With the well-known national epidemic of opioid prescription drug abuse spiraling out of control, and medical marijuana's documented evidence of reducing opioid addiction, one has to wonder if the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers are behind this new emphasis to go after medical marijuana? Is medical marijuana a threat to their legal opioid drug sales?
In a turn of events, Bakers Green Acres farm owner Mark Baker announced last week that he and his family have decided not to sell their farm as previously announced but instead they will transition from production to education. They plan to focus on veteran rehabilitation, using the farm as a place for veterans to come and live, build skills and heal. Mark, a veteran who served for 20 years, says of the recent decision to keep their farm, "We started that process [to sell our farm] and as we went down that road I realized, for a lot of reasons, that it wasn't the best thing to do. For a lot of us. Not just me, and not just my family but there's other people involved as well. I got a lot of input about it. Some of it was heart wrenching, about closing this down." Mark looks to the future saying, "We will stand and change our focus from production farming to transitioning farming for veterans, their friends, their families and associates. Is there room for you in this if you're not a veteran? Absolutely. Absolutely. These are the people you need to wrap your arms around because they're the ones that said, 'I will stand in the gap for you. No matter what I will give my life for you.' I sat with several of them this weekend and I couldn't believe that I've been in the business of chasing dollars for the last ten years when I could have been taking care of them. I can't believe where I was with that but I believe possibly I needed to get some of this training that I've gotten in the last few years in order to do this. That's the direction that I'm going, if anybody wants to come with me, please come along. ...anyone can farm."