The Department of Justice Marijuana War

This Week in Gambling is publishing this story because we believe there are several similarities between the legal marijuana industry and online gambling, from public perception to the way the federal government approaches them. The topics are also “states rights” issues, so watching how the Department of Justice approaches states who choose to regulate marijuana may give us some insight into how they may target states with legalized online gambling.

There are a whole lot of reasons to be mad at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for pushing federal prosecutors – against all logic and reason – to crack down on marijuana in California and other states where it’s legal.

The prospect of a new war on drugs. The lost tax revenue. The opening for drug cartels. The realization that public policy is being driven by the tired notion about pot being a “gateway drug” that is as dangerous as heroin and will fry your brain like an egg, because this is your brain on drugs.

It’s enough to make a person who is 21 or older go smoke a … never mind.

There is one interesting twist to all of this, though. Usually, when the federal government starts cracking down on drugs, it’s black and brown people who get disproportionately rounded up and thrown in prison for possession. This time, I doubt that’s going to happen.

For once, wealthy white people will have as much, if not more, to fear from the federal government than poor people of color do. Blame the rapid corporatization of the cannabis industry.

While minorities have largely been locked out, succumbing to barriers such as having a criminal record or lacking the money to get licensed, mostly white venture capitalists and corporations have been investing in large-scale cultivation operations and expensive manufacturing equipment to turn bud into dabs and edibles.

This dynamic could change in the future as equity programs created by Sacramento and Oakland diversify the pot industry. But for now, these white-owned businesses, along with the storefronts also run by mostly white entrepreneurs, are the most obvious and tempting targets for federal prosecutors. These people are now the “usual suspects.”

Of course, not everyone agrees.

More at Sacramento Bee

Related Stories from This Week in Gambling:

  • Online Gambling Collision Course with Justice Department Now that Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as U.S. Attorney General, we can certainly expect the Department of Justice to "revisit" the Federal Wire Act. And if their opinion of the Wire Act changes, all online gambling in the United States could be shut down. This week's special […]
  • Casinos Applaud California Internet Cafes Court Ruling American Gaming Association (AGA) Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Rayme issued the following statement after the California Supreme Court ruled that Internet sweepstakes cafes are illegal: “Today’s ruling affirms what we already knew: Internet sweepstakes cafes are […]
  • Nevada Governor to Meet with Jeff Sessions Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions are scheduled to meet tomorrow. One item likely to come up in their discussion: Online gambling. What they will talk about is not known. But there are a wide array of topics that the AG’s office would be involved with […]