Much to the chagrin of cannabis advocates, Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long been vocal on his disapproval of marijuana. In several hearings last Spring, then-Senator Sessions pleaded with government to get across to the public that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Sessions has even brought Lady Gaga and the KKK into his anti-pot arguments. At a senate hearing, he stated that pot can’t be safer than booze because “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to it and it’s not harmless.” According to a colleague of Sessions, the former senator once joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he found them “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
Needless to say, the threat of a cannabis policy backlash and an amped-up war on drugs has upset marijuana advocates, liberals and libertarians alike. However, it has recently come to light that any major changes to the Obama administration’s hands-off marijuana policy may have been exaggerated. According to Politico, before his confirmation as Attorney General, Sessions privately reassured senators he planned no major shifts in pot policy despite his own personal beliefs.
In an interview, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that regarding cannabis policy, Sessions told him the following.
“…he would have some respect for states’ rights on these things. And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places.”
However, a group of bi-partisan senators led by Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), both of whom hail from states which voted to legalize marijuana, don’t want to take any chances. The senators sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions last Thursday in which they urged Sessions to uphold Obama-era policies granting power to the states to decide on local pot laws.
With a Trump administration marijuana crackdown looming less large than previously thought and Sessions on the ropes last week over the administration’s seemingly endless Russian entanglements, it looks like weed has emerged the winner.
On this note, let’s take a look at the positive perks legalized pot can bring to the nation.
It has many potential health benefits.
Marijuana has two active chemicals known to offer health benefits: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC). CBD can affect the brain without causing a high and is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and has other beneficial properties. THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is what gets you high, but it can also provide effective pain relief.
Marijuana can be used to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma, can help control epileptic seizures, can help stop cancer from spreading, can slow down Alzheimer’s disease and helps with pain and discomfort for such diseases and conditions as arthritis, cancer, and many inflammatory bowel conditions. In addition, pot can be used to reduce anxiety and help veterans cope with PTSD.
However, to get these health benefits, you don’t necessarily need to take a bong hit. Potentially, you can gain the same relief from synthetic THC pills such as Dronabinol, which some researchers believe may even be more effective than directly smoking weed.
You can eat it.
When it comes to edibles, marijuana has long since moved on from the ubiquitous pot brownies and space cake. In the states where pot is legal, you can now purchase a wide variety of cannabis edibles for both recreational and medicinal use. From cookies, to muffins, to gummy bears and lollipops and chocolate, the list of cannabis edibles on the market is endless. Many cannabis cookbooks are also available as well as cannabis oil and butter for cooking both baked goods as well as savory dishes.
Cannabis edibles have also reached the level of fine dining. Cannabis chefs such as Andrea Drummer (featured in the video above) prepare gourmet meals that will certainly have you soaring at the end.
Cannabis can bring in the green.
No doubt about it, marijuana cultivation is big business. Many venture capitalists have recognized the money-making potential of cannabis-based businesses and start-ups. In 2016, many marijuana stocks were soaring, which had investors turning their heads. Although risks are still significant, if Sessions keeps to his privately-made assurances to keep liberal pot policy intact, legalized marijuana is likely to spell out big business in the years to come.
Last but not least, although some arguments have been posed that legalized marijuana cultivation may have a negative impact on the environment, researchers agree the environmental conditions and repercussions are worse with illegal cultivation, which creates yet another argument in favor of responsible, legal cultivation.
[Featured Image by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]