Tokin’ Texan

Every great story needs a greatvillain, or at least a serviceable one. This is especially true in politics. Activism is about energy and passion, and nothing stimulates passion like personalities, whether it’s a charismatic advocate who can motivate the rank and file, or a noxious toady who makes people want to work themselves ragged, just to deal them a public defeat. And when it comes to medical marijuana, nobody embodies the phrase “noxious toady” quite like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has gone out of his way to cast himself as the central villain in this ongoing drama.

It all started with his comments in December, in which he positioned himself as the sandbag blocking the flood of pro-pot legislation sweeping the nation. And that makes sense, since he’s shaped like a sandbag, albeit with only slightly more substance. But enough ad hominems-it’s too easy. Those in favor of decriminalization have sought to personalize the issue, using stories of patients who were helped by cannabis, and those who could not be helped in time. And now it seems the hot new trend is to support it, simply for the pure escapist thrill of putting the screws to the screw, and all his fellow flatheads at the Department of “Justice.”

The doughy draconian was most recently named personally as defendant in a suit brought by a bevy of citizens hoping to change the way cannabis is classified by the federal government. It’s currently listed as a Schedule I narcotic, in the same category as cocaine, heroin and BBQ (North Carolina style). The plaintiffs represent a cross-section of society: an ex-NFL player denied access to the Minority Business Enterprise because he works in marijuana; a disabled veteran with PTSD; the father of a six-year-old with Leigh’s Disease, a lethal neurological disorder whose symptoms can be eased with pot; members of the Cannabis Cultural Association (send me a T-shirt), who correctly note the racist provenance of current cannabis law.

But the real star of all this is Alexis Bortell, 12 years old and epileptic, Texan, the daughter of a disabled Navy vet, and, as of last year, a published author. (Let’s Talk About Medical Cannabis: One of the Earliest Medical Communities Seen Through the Eyes of Its Youngest Advocate is available on Amazon, just like everything else.) She moved to Colorado for treatment, and medical marijuana ended the seizures that had plagued her all her life. Now, thanks to Sessions, she’s a celebrity with more upside than one of those big woks you see in Asian street markets.

The lawsuit was reluctantly dismissed by the Second Circuit of New York, but all indications are that they’re just getting started. You know the old saying, “Don’t mess with Texas”? Well, it looks like Jeff Sessions might end up learning that the hard way, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.