U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions' 32nd Congressional District seat is one the Democratic Party hopes to flip in November, and it's not alone. A pro-marijuana political action committee also wants Sessions out of his seat.
Sessions possesses a considerable amount of power in the House as an 11-term representative and the chairman of the House Committee on Rules, which sets the rules and original jurisdiction on legislative measures and can "do virtually anything during the course of consideration of a measure," according to the committee's website.
“Across the country, families, businesses and our judicial system
Rob Kampia, the co-founder of the lobbying group Marijuana Policy Project who left in December to create the Marijuana Leadership Campaign, doesn't disguise his disgust for Sessions and the representative's attempts to block marijuana reform in Congress. He calls Sessions "the sphincter who's constantly blocking all of the marijuana amendments."
"We have to get rid of him to get our amendments to the floor of the House," Kampia says. "Once we get rid of him, I know we can get our amendments passed."
Kampia started a new super PAC focused on getting Sessions out of office in November. Kampia says his goal is to make his group "the NRA for marijuana."
Kampia's efforts may have some serious momentum. Although Sessions won 71.1 percent of the vote for his race in 2016, he did so without any Democratic opposition. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won a slim majority of votes over President Donald Trump in the congressional district by a margin of just under 2 percent.
"If Clinton could accidentally beat Trump by 2 percent in that district, and she wasn't even campaigning in Texas, and we weren't involved at all, what happens when we have a Democratic surge two years later and have a Democratic candidate in the district, and we have a super PAC in that district?" Kampia asks. "Certainly, that must all add up to something."
Most states also don't share
Public approval of marijuana legal reform is also clearly in the majority. Sixty-three percent of the country believes marijuana should be legal for recreational use, and 93 percent believes it should be legal for medical use, according to a recent poll that
Collin Allred, one of two Democrats in the May 22 primary runoff to decide who will be
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"I support the use of medical marijuana as an alternative to the habit-forming opioids that have become a national crisis," Allred said in a statement. "This common-sense approach to alternative treatments has been opposed by Pete Sessions, and is something I will fight to expand."
"He's doing the work," Kampia says. "He's got an unbroken track record of being a terrible person, and he has the last name to go along with it. So I'm just passing the hat."
Attempts were made to contact Democratic candidate Lillian Salerno, Allred's runoff opponent, but a representative could not be reached for comment. (UPDATE: Salerno's campaign contacted the Observer after this story was published and offered a statement from Salerno: "The war on drugs did not work, period. I was on the opioid task force when I served in the Obama administration and I saw first hand all the damage done by decades of bad policy. Prosecution of marijuana related crimes is inherently racist. Marijuana should be legalized so we can better regulate its use, reap the economic benefits so all Texans benefit, and give much needed relief through the medical benefits to our veterans suffering from PTSD, children suffering from seizures, and others. "