Jeff Sessions on Marijuana: Drug is 'Only Slightly Less Awful' than Heroin

Posted March 16, 2017

Sessions continued to push his tough-on-crime agenda to law enforcement officials in Richmond, where one such effort had its origins.

In the '80s and '90s, we saw how campaigns stressing prevention brought down drug use and addiction. It is customary for US attorneys to offer their resignations when a new president has been elected, particularly when there has been a political party change. "It's the policy of this administration to reduce crime in America, not preside over an increase in crime, but reduce crime".

Sessions acknowledged that "overall, crime rates in our country remain near historic lows". "We can do this again", reads the of Sessions" prepared speech, which he veered from at times.

In Oklahoma City, the top federal prosecutor's position has been vacant for more than a year, so Trump can make an appointment there without the need for a resignation.

Sessions conceded that his antiquated views on marijuana might be "unfashionable" on Wednesday, but insisted that "our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life". "We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, 'just say no'". It also could have an impact on morale for the career prosecutors who now must pick up the slack, according to some close to the process. Zero-tolerance drug possession policies in public schools led to the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon that saw black and Latino students disproportionately suspended from school and sent to juvenile detention centers. Overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014.

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The attorney general ignored such research, however. "I'm astonished to hear people say we can solve our heroin crisis by having more marijuana", Sessions said. "Lives are at stake, and we're not going to worry about being fashionable".

A federal prosecutor in Wisconsin is stepping down at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"Medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much", Sessions told reporters.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana sales, but medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and D.C. The attorney general said that "much" of the Cole memo - the Obama DOJ guidance deprioritizing federal pot enforcement in states that have legalized - is "valid", and he recognized that federal law enforcement is "not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades". "No one complains about that", said John Walsh, an Obama-era appointee as USA attorney in Colorado who resigned in July.