Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently made an appearance before local, state and federal law enforcement officials in Richmond, Virginia, where he delivered remarks comparing marijuana to heroin and insisted that “using drugs will destroy your life.”
During his speech on violent crime he continued a personal campaign to demonize the drug. He also said that marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same.
The attorney general added, “I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
While taking questions from reporters Sessions declared himself “dubious” about benefits of smoked marijuana. He added, “I think medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much.”
My jaw dropped: Jeff Sessions says marijuana is "life-wrecking," "only slightly less awful" than heroin https://t.co/YTQQSJf8ip— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) March 15, 2017
However, it seems like the U.S. attorney general lacks medical understanding as research reveals that marijuana is substantially safer than other commonly used recreational drugs. The research further states if forcibly deprived a chemically dependent human body upon heroin will tear itself apart. On the contrary, there has never been a recorded death from overdose in the thousands of years people have been using the drug.
During former President Barrack Obama’s tenure, under the Cole Memorandum the Justice Department allowed states to forge their own way on marijuana policy by issuing guidance in 2013. This guidance can easily be reversed by President Donald Trump’s administration as it is not a law.
However, marijuana is quickly being accepted in a lot of states as it is the most commonly used illicit substance in the country, and many states are also bucking prohibition in favor of legal regulation of the plant.
Unlike the state programs legal recreational marijuana has been approved in eight states and Washington, D.C., which continues to ban sales. A total of 28 states have also legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
Marijuana advocates are skeptical following Jeff Sessions’ comments.
“Sessions has a total lack of understanding of what the marijuana industry is like, what marijuana reform in the states does and what the science is on this issue,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“It’s much easier to ignore the words of a man who’s clearly not only ignorant but very comfortable in his own ignorance — a serious challenge for an attorney general, who’s the chief law enforcement officer in the United States,” he added.
Steve Miller, a retired sergeant who now works as a private investigator at a law firm specializing in medical marijuana cases, said, “He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well.”
Somebody smoke a joint with Jeff Sessions please. He's practically begging for some good. Smh https://t.co/yomdcuYKJ2— Ferrari Sheppard (@stopbeingfamous) March 16, 2017
Do you really believe that marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin? Honey... bless your heart. @jeffsessions— mick (@mickmack69) March 16, 2017
Jeff Sessions today compared drug overdoses to 9/11, then said marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than heroin. pic.twitter.com/k0MhZVTX5M— Andrew Blake (@apblake) March 15, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yuri Gripas