They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — but in 2018, imitation can also be simple mockery. Count a Denver dispensary chain's decision to name a marijuana strain after United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions among the latter.
Inspired by the AG's public remarks and his recent rescission of nine years' worth of federal protective guidelines for marijuana businesses and users, Medicine Man's Jeff Sesh-ons is a sativa-leaning hybrid of Jet Fuel and Bio Diesel. The combination of genetics from Colorado-based 303 Seeds would usually equate to another strain called Rocket Fuel, but the Medicine Man grow produced a phenotype with different characteristics, so the staff was mulling over what to name it.
"We have a little fun with some strains occasionally," says Bradley Roddy, director of retail operations for Medicine Man, who explains that the cultivation team will test out different female plants of the same genetics to decide which ones have the most desirable qualities to continue growing for future harvests. "Rocket Fuel had three strong candidates, but when they run side by side, they can taste and smell different."
With the phenotype closest to the original Rocket Fuel already bearing its name, the two other varieties couldn't be sold until they were given new identities. Roddy had one in mind for the second. "At the time we named it, Jeff Sessions was all up in the news," he says. "It's topical and kind of fun. You may see more strains like that."
Sessions's distaste for marijuana goes back decades; in the ’80s, the future senator reportedly said that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan "were okay until I found out they smoked pot." Since Sessions was appointed head of the United States Department of Justice in 2017, his actions have backed up his remarks.
In June 2017, MassRoots reporter Tom Angell published a letter that Sessions had sent to congressional leaders, asking them to undo the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which grants federal protections for medical marijuana. Weeks later in July, he sent a letter to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper citing rising out-of-state diversion of marijuana, youth use, emergency-room visits and traffic deaths related to marijuana as cause for "serious questions." The stats he used, however, were from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report, which has drawn criticism for its data-collecting and presentation methods.
issued a memo to United States Attorneys rescinding the Cole Memorandum, a 2013 policy that offered protection from federal prosecution for the cultivation, distribution and possession of pot in states where it is legal, as well as several other federal memos outlining protective guidelines for state-compliant marijuana users and businesses. He, the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Administration were recently sued for marijuana's federal Schedule I classification; the feds argued that the case should be dropped at a hearing on February 14.
Although there haven't been any reports of state-compliant cannabis businesses being raided by federal law enforcement since Sessions rescinded the Cole memo, some of the staff at Medicine Man still worried about "poking the bear," as Roddy puts it. "There were people here who wondered if we were asking for it, but we felt pretty safe to put it out there."
Jeff Sesh-ons is an approximately 80/20 sativa-indica hybrid, Roddy says, one that gives users a strong head high with an energetic buzz. The strain's Bio Diesel influence takes some of the funky Diesel notes away from the potent Jet Fuel for a more mellow flavor, he adds.
Medicine Man's Denver location is the only dispensary carrying Jeff Sesh-ons, and once it's out of stock, it's gone for good. "We used to ask: What would last longer, the Jeff Sesh-ons on the shelf or the one in the White House?" Roddy jokes. "It looks like whoever bet on the Jeff in the White House is going to win this one, unfortunately."
Ol' Jeffy and the DOJ headquarters are actually located right down the street from the White House, at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., but we get what he means.