Newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions shocked many by coming out swinging against the state level legalization of marijuana. What seems like common sense to the vast majority of Americans is now being walked back by the highest law of the land. In a press conference shortly after his confirmation, he made the following statement:
“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot. I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that.”
Despite the obvious fallacy of THC being connected to violence, the real concern here is his signaling a return to Federal resources being used to usurp state laws. But the even bigger question is this: with nearly half the states in the US having some sort of decriminalized cannabis laws on their books, why is Sessions so eager to ramp up the war on state-legal cannabis users?
The answer? He’s working for America’s modern slave masters: the private prison industry.
For those who aren’t aware, of the about 7% of state prisons, and about 18% of federal prisons, the vast majority are run by two private prison companies: CoreCivics Inc., and The Geo Group. And, because the 13th amendment against slavery has a loophole regarding “labor as punishment for crimes”, these inmates are legally allowed to be used for commercial labor while getting paid as low as 40 cents a day, if they’re paid at all. Some states, like Texas, pay nothing at all for the labor, meeting the very definition of slavery.
Major corporations across America benefit from this. Companies including Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Victoria’s Secret, AT&T, and many more, all have bought goods and services produced by inmates in private prisons. Many of them rely on inmate labor for day to day services and products. The prison work force is estimated to be as high as 2.2 million people, who have zero protections from abrogations of labor law, who receive no social security or medical benefits, no over time (if they’re paid at all), and with no ability to seek legal recourse or unionize.
This shadow workforce, estimated to generate billions of dollars in revenue annually, seems to be completely invisible to our society at large. Even in their own marketing, private prison corporations call inmate labor “the best kept secret in outsourcing“, touting its “cost effective labor pool” and “high security”.
So, where does AG Sessions fit into all this?
1. He’s reversing Obama’s plan to phase out private prisons in the US.
Responding to rampant abuses in private correctional facilities, Obama created a plan to phase out private prison usage in the US. Sessions has now reversed that decision, resulting in CoreCivics Inc. and The Geo Group’s stock immediately climbing in after hours trading.
2. He’s preparing to increase the Federal inmate population by ramping up federal prosecution of state legal cannabis operations.
Anyone who’s ever wondered how a country with 5% of the world’s population has 25% of the world’s prison population need look no further than the war on drugs. Nixonian policies intended as a weapon to use against “blacks and hippies” caused a massive uptick in prison populations from the seventies to now. Cannabis account for half of all drug related arrests, and most are for low level possession and usage.
3. Private Prison contracts include a “minimum occupancy” clause, giving the government a financial incentive to create more inmates.
In what should be blatantly immoral, if not illegal, to anyone with the barest modicum of human decency, many private prison contracts include “minimum bed guarantee” clauses which incur additional fees if the inmate count for a private facility isn’t met. This creates a financial incentive for the government to create inmates. The easiest way to do so, obviously, is to criminalize additional behavior. Sessions’ messaging about Federal marijuana enforcement dovetails into that perfectly.
4. Sessions’ stance comes in response to private prisons contributing nearly a million dollars to Trump’s campaign.
Private prison industries poured nearly a million dollars into Trump’s campaign, and are now seeing a big payoff on that spend. Between this action, and the “catch and hold” ICE policies being implemented for illegal immigrants, these companies are seeing billions of dollars in potential revenues being generated by this administration’s directives.
So, to recap:
- Trump’s campaign receives huge contributions from private prisons after signaling there would be an increase in the usage of private prisons by the federal government.
- Sessions is appointed AG, and immediately goes on the offensive over state legalized cannabis usage.
- Private prisons, which use unpaid labor to generate billions in revenue, have minimum occupancy requirements.
- Drug related arrests are a primary driver for occupancy.
- Cannabis makes up the majority of drug related arrests.