U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again had the nerve to insult the cannabis community earlier this week, saying marijuana use is “only slightly less awful” than the scourge of heroin addiction.
The offensive comment was part of a statement Sessions prepared for a speech delivered in front of law enforcement on Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.
“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable,” Sessions said “I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store.”
“And 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,” he added. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
Sessions, who has yet to confirm whether he will impose a crackdown on legal marijuana, then went on to explain his desire to resurrect the ideas of Nancy Reagan, including her “Just Say No” campaign.
“In the ’80s and ’90s, we saw how campaigns stressing prevention brought down drug use and addiction. We can do this again,” Sessions said. “Educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs and addiction will result in better choices. We can reduce the use of drugs, save lives and turn back the surge in crime that inevitably follows in the wake of increased drug abuse.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 13,000 people died in 2015 as a result of a heroin overdose – more than gun-related murders. Yet, there has never been a single recorded case of anyone dying from an overdose to marijuana.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that opioid-related incidents are on the decline in states that have legalized medical marijuana, and another report from the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering, which examined more than 10,000 scientific abstracts, found that marijuana does, in fact, have medicinal benefit. The study authors said the only reason we do not have a full understanding of the cannabis plant is because of the federal government. The report called for Uncle Sam to downgrade the Schedule I listing of the cannabis plant in an effort “to establish what is known and what needs to be known about the health effects of cannabis use.”
It is for this reason that marijuana advocates are calling Sessions’ latest statements “factually inaccurate.”
“Sessions needs to stop spreading unfounded, unscientific theories about medical marijuana and take the time to actually meet the millions of Americans that are benefitting from its use before making comments about it being over-hyped,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access.