Washington, DC: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Warns Of An America With 'Marijuana Sold At Every Corner Grocery Store'
By Derrick Stanley
Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Tuesday that easing access to marijuana could lead to local markets selling the drug.
Speaking to a group of attorneys at the National Association of Attorneys General Winter Meeting, he said, “States can pass whatever laws they choose. But I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.”
Sessions went on to criticize a column published by Sam Kamin in the Washington Post Tuesday. Kamin, a professor of marijuana law and policy at the University of Denver, argues in the column that the opioid crisis is “a reason to expand access to marijuana rather than to contract it.” A study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in 2016 found “adverse consequences of opioid use” gradually decreased in states where marijuana had been legalized as individuals switched from opioids to marijuana for pain relief.
“Give me a break,” Sessions said. “This is the kind of argument that has been out there. [It’s] almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove me wrong. ... My best view is that we don’t need to be legalizing marijuana.”
Tom Angell, chairman of drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority, said that Sessions' comments on opioids were "ridiculous."
“Several studies have already shown that states with legal marijuana access see reduced opioid problems,” Angell said in a statement Tuesday. “If the attorney general really cares about public health and safety, he’ll stop relying on ‘alternative facts’ ... This administration should respect science and, at the very least, needs to uphold the president’s repeated campaign pledges to respect state cannabis laws.”
Despite public support for marijuana legalization being at a record high, the White House seems to be preparing to crack down on recreational cannabis.Last week White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said states with legalized marijuana can expect to see “greater enforcement” of federal laws surrounding the plant.
On Monday, Sessions addressed reporters at the Justice Department, claiming “real violence” can be attributed to the “current levels of THC in marijuana.”
“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot,” Sessions said. “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.”