Attorney general says marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than heroin
Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued a personal campaign to demonize marijuana, calling cannabis a "life-wrecking dependency" that is "only slightly less awful" than heroin in a speech on violent crime in Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday.
Insisting that the federal government should return to a Nancy Reagan-style, 1980s anti-drug campaign – "educating people and telling them the terrible truth" about controlled substances – Sessions conflated the nation's opioid addiction and overdose crisis, which now claims 140 lives a day, with marijuana, a drug he said will "destroy your life."
Sessions has no facts on his side. The use of medical pot as a painkiller can provide an alternative to opioids, and many in recovery cite cannabis as lessening the agony of opiate withdrawal. Research published on the federal government's own DrugAbuse.gov website finds that states with medical marijuana programs have reported "reductions of 16 to 31 percent in mortality due to prescription opioid overdoses, and 28 to 35 percent in admissions for treatment of opioid addiction."