Once proclaimed Washington’s most powerful anti-pot official by Politico, Congressman Pete Sessions, a Republican from Texas, was ousted from his seat by Democrat Colin Allred on Tuesday. Sessions, who served in Congress since 1997 made a name for himself blocking almost every major piece of cannabis legislation brought to the House floor.
With a position of power as the chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions methodically rolled back, or in some cases halted legislation protecting legalized cannabis in the U.S.
[Prohibition recedes across the globe as medical cannabis becomes legal in the UK]
“Marijuana is an addictive product, and the merchants of addiction make it that way,” Pete Sessions said according to a report in Politico. “They make it to where our people, our young people, become addicted to marijuana and keep going.”
In fact, due to Pete Sessions return to “Reefer Madness,” no cannabis amendments have been voted on by the House of Representatives in two years. And no one group was immune to the Congressman’s wrath, with Sessions voting in June to block four amendments aimed at protecting veterans who use cannabis, according to The Daily Beast.
As many observers noted, Sessions refusal to engage the cannabis debate was due more to stubbornness than ignorance. “Advocates have been visiting [Sessions] for years,” said Mark Zartler, a father whose child uses medical marijuana — albeit illegally due to federal law — according to The Daily Beast. “This isn’t an education problem. It’s a willingness problem. It’s a Pete Sessions problem.”
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When the facts didn’t work in Sessions favor, the long-serving Congressman had no problem just making them up either. He’s repeatedly claimed that cannabis today is “300 times more powerful” than it was 30 years ago, which, as many have pointed out, is malarkey.
Cannabis advocates will gain a new friend in Democrat Colin Allred. The Congressman-elect is a civil rights attorney, a former NFL player, and a former Housing and Urban Development Department official. He campaigned on healthcare — a winning issue this year for Democrats — and, most importantly, has been vocal in his support for medical marijuana.
“His outdated views on the war on drugs are frozen in the 1980s,” Allred said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “There are veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other combat injuries and could benefit from medical marijuana right now. They want it, their doctors want to prescribe it, and Congressman Sessions is standing in the way.”