Pete Sessions… No Relation? Who is the Anti-Cannabis Congressman?
Two unrelated men with the last name Sessions are doing their utmost to sabotage the legalization of cannabis. If only they understood the irony of this predicament. Surely this is the punchline to some corny political joke. Unfortunately, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction… Jeff Sessions has a brother from another mother in Texas congressman Pete Sessions. The man has a political record of extreme hostility towards cannabis legalization that rivals his namesake.
However, change is a brewing in Texas, and the midterm elections could have a significant impact on the fight for legal weed. Let’s have a look at the curious case of Pete Sessions and see how this ultra-conservative anti-cannabis congressman is reluctantly adapting to the new status quo of cannabis
There Are Two Kinds of Republicans
In the past decades, two very different molds of Republican have emerged. These two distinct brands can be summarily classified as old and new. The old, Reagan era prototype is not just fiscally conservative, but socially conservative as well. This old breed believes in limited government intervention into people’s lives… Unless it concerns drugs… Or abortion… Or anything else that offends their traditional sensibilities.
The nouveau Republican is cut from the same cloth as Gary Johnson and Rand Paul. This updated model is more socially permissive but still favors less government interference into the economy. This libertarian, right-wing prototype is not without its bugs and errors, but at the very least it won’t fight you tooth and nail on many of the major hemispheres in which America has made some slow, steady progress the past few decades.
We can credit this ideological split within the Republican party with some of the social progress that has been made amongst America’s right. This is evidenced by the fact that for the first time in history, a majority of Republicans support the legalization of cannabis. This is a slight and fickle majority at best, however, let’s keep in mind that this is the party of Reagan and ‘just say no’. Progress is sometimes measured in inches rather than miles, so let’s give credit where credit’s due.
If one were to classify Pete Sessions into one of these two groups of Republicans, the anti-cannabis congressman would undoubtedly be in the former. Sessions is a red-blooded, card-carrying Republican, a throwback to a fictitious conservative golden age… When men were men and communists were better off dead. I presume that Sessions is the kind of Republican that hangs a picture of Reagan next to his crucifix and prays to both in equal parts.
All joking aside, let’s take a look at old uncle Pete’s political record to see if the above statements have any basis in reality.
Just How Anti-Cannabis is Pete Sessions?
So just how anti-cannabis is Pete Sessions? The adjective that best surmises this man’s opposition to legalization would be militant. His voting record reflects this as well. Sessions has blocked over 30 proposed amendments to cannabis laws during he tenure.
Veterans are among the people most in need of medicinal cannabis. Many service men and women suffer from debilitating conditions such as PTSD, chronic pain, and various traumatic brain injuries. These conditions can make it impossible for many of these wounded warriors to function in civilian life.
Cannabis medicine has been demonstrated to be a safer, more effective alternative to existing prescription medications for patients with these ailments. The accounts of veterans in need and the scientific data is begging to percolate across the general population. America is starting to realize the efficacy of cannabis medicine and quite frankly, it’s long overdue. Various high profile politicians are taking note as well. Two, in particular, Brian Schatz and Angus King have come out in support of giving the VA the power to give veterans the most effective treatment available. The same cannot be said for the anti-cannabis congressman Sessions.
So another aging republican anti-cannabis congressman is blocking the road to legalization, why does this matter? America might be on the cusp of a monumental change, and the Republican old guard is the only thing standing in the way. In this midterm election season, Pete Sessions is just one of many of Republicans who might be swept out of Congress by the rising blue tide.
The Times They Are a Changing
Bob Dylan’s 1963 masterpiece provides some insight into the current predicament Pete Sessions and his fellow old-school Republicans find themselves in. The anti-cannabis congressman finds himself pitted against a democratic hopeful and ex-NFL player in Colin Allred.
NFL players are plagued many of the same health issues as veterans. These athletes have been outspoken advocates of legalizing cannabis in many cases. Allred is one of these cannabis crusaders who see the potential impact the plant can have on medicine. The Democrat censured Session’s ardent opposition to legal medical cannabis in this June tweet.
“It is unfortunate that Pete Sessions refuses to acknowledge that medical marijuana can help our veterans coming back from war who are struggling with PTSD and chronic pain.”
In the words of Bob Dylan: “If your time to you is worth savin’, then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin'”. It appears this is the exact predicament the ultra-conservative Pete Sessions finds himself in now.
Evidently, the anti-cannabis congressman is ready to come to the table and consider the efficacy of cannabis medicine. The Republican has agreed to meet with Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, a group that advocates alternative treatments for autistic children.
Children with autism are excellent candidates for cannabis medicine. For many parents with non-verbal, self-harming kids, cannabis represents a life-altering, godsent remedy. Unfortunately, under the current status quo, giving cannabis medicine to autistic children is seen as child abuse in Texas. As a result, families have been torn apart and children are taken into government custody in heinous acts of ignorant cruelty.
Is there Hope For Pete Sessions?
To say that this current initiative is nothing more than an act of timely political theater might be a crass generalization. The anti-cannabis congressman has a son with down syndrome, and thus might be receptive to the plights of parents with special needs children.
What’s doubly encouraging, is that Pete Sessions seems to have a positive takeaway from these conversations. He had this to say regarding their meeting.
“I was pleased to get to continue our conversations together in my Dallas office on Monday because I believe that by working together, real progress can be made. I look forward to continuing my journey with parents like Amy, Thalia, and Mayra as we look to find the best solutions for our children.”
The Take-Away on Pete Sessions
Pete Sessions’ change of heart is representative of larger forces at work. The old breed of Republican faces a daunting choice: adapt to the times and live to fight another day or stick to your guns and face ridicule as an obsolete and isolated political entity.
The American public wants cannabis and the political elite on both sides of the aisle should take notice. Legalization has begun at a statewide level and it is threating to take the nation by storm. Old guard Republicans such as Pete Sessions should hop on the bandwagon or be left behind because legalization will happen with or without them. Cause the times they are a-changin’.
By: Stefan Hosko