Right-Wing Weed

Some of the strongest winds of legalization waft from conservative corners


Anyone familiar with the vagaries of social media in Northeast Florida—or anywhere else, for that matter—will readily attest to the truthiness of the old cliché (adapted from Shakespeare, like so much else): "Politics makes for strange bedfellows." That phrase seems increasingly literal in the Trump Era, as deals are sealed with drinks and a meal, the aftermath playing out as tabloid fodder and then under oath, sooner or later. You can see several examples of that dynamic in play in relation to the medical marijuana issue, which has begun to draw support from what may be considered the most unlikely places. These places only seem unlikely, however, if you're a noob.

The latest example was provided by disgraced current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose continued recalcitrant rants against decriminalization has drawn scorn on a bipartisan basis-even from Fox, the closest thing to state media America has ever seen. On the Fox Business Network, former MTV "Alternative Nation" host Kennedy, née Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, cited a recent Quinnipiac University poll showing 63 percent of Americans are in support of legalization.

"There is no fuzzy math here. It's very straightforward, and [Sessions] and his anti-pot crusade are on the losing side of the argument," Kennedy said.

She went on to mention two studies showing "direct correlation" between decriminalization and decreased rates of both opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths. "And what does Jefferson Beauregard Sessions say about that?" she asked, the snark rising to a fever pitch. "He kind of shrugs and says he doesn't think that will be sustained in the long run. Jeff Sessions won't be sustained in the long run, because his ass-backwards anti-liberty thinking is the very thing that's getting people killed!"

And boom goes the dynamite. In taking this stand, Kennedy affixes herself to the tail end of a tradition that began with my old pen pal William F. Buckley Jr., the lunatic wordsmith and right-wing provocateur who founded National Review in 1955, which is largely credited with launching the conservative revolution.

Buckley steered his ship firmly athwart the prohibitionist tide in the '90s, alienating many conservatives while making legalization officially a bipartisan concern. Buckley also opposed the Iraq War, making him correct on America's two biggest screw-ups in the modern era. His pot writings are well worth revisiting, both for the smooth precision of his language and the timelessness of the position he articulates. The stuff is 25 years old, but you can quote it today without changing a word.

You can bet that Kennedy, an out conservative in her early 20s, stationed at ground zero of the counterculture at that time, read every word of it. "The more we study cannabis," she concluded, "the more it can be refined and used to treat medical conditions and boredom. The longer we protract the immoral Drug War, the more decimation we'll see in inner cities and rural communities that are hit hardest by supply-side drug combat that has proven fruitless.

"Jeff Sessions needs to do the right thing and admit he's wrong, but he won't so, instead, at some point he's got to go. Hopefully the next AG will be a force for good, and not a cesspool of backward thinking, bad drug policy ...."

Truer words could not have been spoken and, given the source, it's an indictment more damning than anything Robert Mueller has produced so far. (So far.)

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