Even in the midst of the investigation into alleged Russian ties to the Trump administration, Jeff Sessions still has time to parrot anti-pot rhetoric. Sessions wants any mandates that keep the Controlled Substance Act from being enforced in its entirety, to be removed.
Specifically, he wants to remove restrictions from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that hinder them from going after states with legal medical marijuana, Sessions wrote in a letter to select members of congress.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the DOJ to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote.
The opioid epidemic has nothing to do with marijuana or the legal marijuana industry. It has more to do with highly addictive drugs being overly prescribed to patients. Then patients turn to street alternatives like heroin because there aren’t appropriate measures in place to properly ween people off. Some studies show marijuana can replace prescription pain medicine and help ween people off it.
Sessions’ comments on violent crime are misleading. Some cities have experienced surges in murders over the last few years, but the overall trend over decades is a notable decrease in violent crime, according to Factcheck.org.
The Washington Post and New York Times both released similar stories chronicling violent crime increasing in cities, both based on studies done by the FBI. It’s very likely Sessions is sourcing these when he references an “uptick in violent crime.”
Another point Sessions addresses in his letter is a black-market system hidden behind the veil of the recreational system. He points to a marijuana sting reported by the Denver Post, where half of the people caught had connections to the legal marijuana industry.
There will always be people shirking legal avenues for negative ones. Weediquette’s episode “Pot Pipeline” on Viceland, features a black market pipeline from the legal west coast to the illegal east coast, supplied entirely by legally grown and certified weed.
Even with this happening, billions of dollars are still being kept out of the hands of drug cartels and gangs. Legal marijuana is also stimulating economies and providing thousands of jobs for hard working Americans, per The Washington Post and is projected to create hundreds of thousands more, according to Forbes.
The last point Sessions makes is that marijuana has “significant negative health risks.” He cites evidence like marijuana leading to breathing disorders and increased risk of psychosis and mental disorders.
Famously back in 2013, Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent apologized for unknowingly misleading people about marijuana.
“We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that,” Gupta said.
It’s clear Jeff Sessions’ views on marijuana are off, to say the least. Plenty of intelligent and thoughtful people wholeheartedly disagree with Sessions’ claims. And it’s clear that most voting American citizens in the 28 states with medical and recreational marijuana laws do as well.