AG Jeff Sessions Finally Shows His True Colors, Pursues Anti-Marijuana Stance

By Victoria Kim 03/01/17

“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Photo via YouTube

Prior to assuming the role of U.S. attorney general in February, Jeff Sessions didn’t say too much about how he would handle marijuana policy as the head of the Justice Department. 

Those who follow drug policy issues, however, have been aware of the former Alabama senator’s draconian views on marijuana. He said during a 2016 Senate hearing, “This drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny,” and that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

When asked about marijuana policy prior to his appointment, Sessions would give only vague answers like, “I will not commit to never enforcing federal law.” 

But on Monday (Feb. 27) Sessions was back to his old self. “I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot,” he said. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that.”

The “violence” talking point he’s referring to came from a recent meeting he had with Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who's been on a mission to nullify Colorado’s recreational marijuana law for years. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved,” said Sessions.

In 2014, Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado, which shares a border with both states, in an attempt to rein in its new recreational marijuana law that was approved by residents in 2012. The states claimed that by legalizing cannabis, Colorado “created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system.” (Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.)

Because of Colorado, legal marijuana flows into Nebraska and Oklahoma, undermining their own marijuana bans and putting an increased burden on law enforcement, the lawsuit claimed. It was dismissed by the Supreme Court last year.

But while arguing that cannabis somehow breeds violence, Sessions unwittingly gave a pretty good reason to legalize in all 50 states: “You can’t sue somebody for drug debt; the only way to get your money is through strong-arm tactics, and violence tends to follow that.” 

As Tom Angell, a long-time drug policy reform advocate and chairman of Marijuana Majority, said, “By talking about marijuana and violence, the attorney general is inadvertently articulating the strongest argument that exists for legalization, which is that it allows regulated markets in a way that prohibition does not. The only connection between marijuana and violence is the one that exists when illegal sellers battle it out for profits in the black market.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr