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Dickinson writes: "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."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (photo: Getty)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (photo: Getty)

Jeff Sessions Goes Full 'Reefer Madness' on Pot

By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

16 March 17


Attorney general says marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than heroin

ttorney 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 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."

No matter, Sessions cast his ignorance as bold, "unfashionable" truth-telling. The attorney general's remarks on marijuana follow:

"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. 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. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life."

Answering reporters' follow-up questions, Sessions added that, "I think medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much" and declared himself "dubious" about benefits of smoked marijuana.

Despite the Drug War saber-rattling, Sessions proceeded to offer a vague note of reassurance on the future of state-legal recreational marijuana. 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." your social media marketing partner


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+104 # Wise woman 2017-03-16 13:07
As someone who has used medical mj for pain and swelling due a bone infection, this guy does not know what he's talking about. I'd much better go that plant based route than stuffing optiods down my throat. One never becomes addicted to topical
treatments or suffers from any side effects.
And this stuff really works!
+42 # Femihumanist 2017-03-16 20:28
Once I began using medical marijuana for pain, I was also able to get off oxycodone. That guys an idiot.
+10 # dquandle 2017-03-16 23:48
Although many opioids are ultimately plant-based as well, and have been used as effective pain killers, part of a healer's pharmacopeia, for thousands of years.
+73 # chapdrum 2017-03-16 14:24
Thus spake a paragon of morality.
+104 # BoomerZoomer 2017-03-16 14:47
Beauregard is an ignorant, bigoted jerk. Pick any law enforcement topic on which he has expressed an opinion, and you will find that he is wrong every time.
+17 # norman markowitz 2017-03-16 17:50
Maybe Jeff was on LSD when he said that.
+30 # Stilldreamin1 2017-03-16 17:52
And alcohol is all American.
+28 # reiverpacific 2017-03-16 18:00
Someone should ask this moralistic jerk, how does he "know" so much about pot (which I'm proud to say is now legal in Oregon) -as anybody who yatters on so much about a subject on which he claims to know so much, to reveal just HOW he knows all this shite.
There's a much played video on YouTube showing an elderly man with Parkinson's disease shaking uncontrollably, then after a mild dose of Marijuana, acts perfectly normally.
Another example of the Drumpf cabal of ignoramuses and inhuman ciphers ignoring the maxim "He laughs at scars who never felt the pain".
+36 # Adoregon 2017-03-16 18:00
Uh, what does Mr. Sessions have to say about alcohol, a substance able to kill in one sitting?
+27 # Elroys 2017-03-16 18:21
We know that the vast majority of the American people, and world citizens know that this is a crick of dung. The question really is, how can we possibly allow vile human beings like sessions, Pence, Trump, Bannon, DeVos and so many others run OUR country as THEIR fiefdom. This is truly madness.

They are essentially taking all the money from working and middle class and handing to the wealthy - thru obscene tax breaks for the most wealthy, massive cuts on health care, horrific military spending for 20th century weapons that are already obsolete, building a $25B wall that is will do great harm and no good - we just cannot allow these people to rip out the heart and soul, and bank account of America. We have got to figure this out.

These corrupt greedy mother fu**ing bastards are causing too much pain - pass me the joint -
+10 # laborequalswealth 2017-03-17 09:42
You are being too kind.

I say they are the Spawn of Satan and should be dealt with accordingly.

And I'm an atheist!
+21 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-03-16 18:32
Hemp must be a good thing, if the Trumpeters are against it.
+27 # tedrey 2017-03-16 18:33
A whole generation of policemen, prosecutors, judges, and prison operators have made a vile career out of arresting, indicting, sentencing, and jailing a whole generation of harmless marijuana smokers. Jeff Sessions hopes his vitriolic lies will give those remunerative careers a new birth. Everyone tell him he lies and then ignore him; he won't last long.
+8 # suzyskier 2017-03-16 18:42
Who cares what this guy says in the first place. With his history of racism and other prejudices I don't think he has a leg to stand on. Why are Republicans always so intent on controlling everyone? I've had it with them.
+13 # librarian1984 2017-03-17 07:29
Exactly. Conservatives spout a virtuous devotion to individual and states' rights -- that they immediately throw out the window when it comes to women's bodies, people's bedrooms and drug policy.

But as to who cares about what Sessions says? We all should -- he has the power to cause a lot of misery.
+9 # Maybe 2017-03-16 18:48
Oh, there'll be a lot of comments on THIS one! It might even bring back "Reefer Madness"! Not nice, I know, but the man is a bit of a shmuck....
+15 # Jim Rocket 2017-03-16 18:51
Sessions is a troglodyte who would be comfortable in a white hood. Facts run a distant second to the sanctity of his world view. I wonder how he would react if they took away his recreational drug - booze. Sad!
+12 # olpossum 2017-03-16 19:01
You have to wonder who the hell this guy thinks he's talking to. It's not as if he's going to convince very many people to believe him rather than their own experience.
+11 # EternalTruth 2017-03-16 19:02
Is it possible that he's actually this stupid? Or is he just so shameless that looking like a complete ass and idiot do not phase him?

Wow. Just, wow
+14 # Art947 2017-03-16 19:32
It is amazing that with his ignorance he has survived for so long. He is a demonstration that elections do not result in the cream rising to the top of the bottle. Alabamans should be ashamed of themselves for repeatedly elected this buffoon to the Senate.
+7 # chrisconnolly 2017-03-16 19:38
Obviously he considers racism much more moral than pot. In his book hanging a black for being black is commonly excepted in his southern culture and you would never find them diminishing their standing in the community with something so evil a smoking pot.

And these are family values?
+11 # jazzman633 2017-03-16 19:40
Sessions needs to chill out and toke up. I can hardly wait till we learn that Mr. Morality is an adulterer, a lover of prostitutes, or an alcoholic: the more viciously politicians persecute others' personal behavior, that more up-tight, corrupt, and guilt-ridden they are themselves.
+12 # anarchteacher 2017-03-16 19:41
Researchers Peter Dale Scott,(The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U. S. Democracy and American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan) and Alfred W. McCoy, (The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade) have detailed the covert “deep state” reality of the power elite enmeshed within the extra-constitut ional welfare-warfare state apparatus enabled by the Federal Reserve, while the belligerent interventionist foreign policy with the Third World since the end of World War II is exposed as narco-centric, behind the Cold War/War on Terror public facade or rationale.

Along with the multinational petroleum and weapons/intelli gence industries of the military-indust rial complex, the global narcotics trade is one the biggest businesses in the world. It is fueled and enabled by the clandestine intersection of drug money, intelligence and money laundering on a vast scale by banks and financial institutions across the planet. Researchers have connected the dots linking the "underworld” of organized crime (narcotics) to the “upperworld" of the establishment (Wall Street banks and CFR-connected corporations/fo undations/media ). Interwoven within the corrupt nexus are the clandestine intelligence services, with ties to both "worlds."

Trump could have taken a bold step to end all this, to end the deep state fostering narcotics.

Instead he appointed the buffoon Sessions as attorney general.
+6 # laborequalswealth 2017-03-17 09:45
Exactly. Anyone who doesn't think the "drug trade" could be shut down in 48 hours is living in fantasy land. The controllers of our government know exactly who the traffickers are - because most of them are politically powerful.

Like abortion, drugs are just another method for the neocon psychopaths destroy democracy.

What suckers the right wing masses are.
+16 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2017-03-16 20:09
It sounds like Sessions has a booze-addled brain that is just this side of stroke-out. By his reasoning we should pull all alcohol off the market. I personally know at least three people who ruined their livers with beer, wine and booze. One of them died a horrible death.

How many millionaires will have to step forward and assert that pot smoking did not ruin their lives. After all, money is the only thing Republicans care about.
+11 # no2oil 2017-03-16 20:12
This is an administration from top to bottom that is built on lies and one that operates with total immunity and without public accountability.

Trump and his cabinet picks are totally unqualified for their key jobs, with escalating conflicts of interest at play as each new day of this administration passes.

Session's is an excellent example of the wrong guy at the wrong time, and in the wrong job. His conflict of interests are raised on an unenlightened deep deep south belief system, and potential stock investments by individuals in this administration in the private prison system, or better known as the jail-for-profit prison industry which benefits greatly from police state drug laws that result in a large and profitable prison population of non-violent drug offenders.

Sessions is also an ideologue, not a medical or social scientist, so forget trying to look to reason and facts in persuading Sessions and others in the radical right Trump world, because they operate under a basic belief "we're in charge, and the public can just get out the way", along with the mantra "my mind if made up, don't confuse me with facts".

If Sessions wants to go on a drug tirade and shout about the social costs of addiction, then he should focus on additive drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and big pharma's cornucopia of drugs on demand, and not on the medically and socially beneficial cannabis plant.
+7 # Saberoff 2017-03-16 20:14
Where the hell do these people live?
+24 # librarian1984 2017-03-16 20:25
Uh, Beauregard? States that have decriminalized marijuana have seen a 25% drop in opiate overdoses AND we have NOT seen an increase in teen use of marijuana in those states, while 15 thousand or so die every year from alcohol toxicity.

But wow, it sure is a handy way to bust minorities we want to target!

I'd love to see a whistleblower or two air Beauregard's dirty laundry. You know a simpering little piss-ant like him has got a few unsavory skeletons.

Blow, whistleblowers, blow!
+12 # seakat 2017-03-16 22:19
#45's entire administration is a giant bag of nut jobs and snake oil salesmen, beginning with #45 himself.
+11 # jwb110 2017-03-16 22:52
None of the people that have been appointed by Trump and approved by Congress know that they are talking about. They all have the life experiences of lab rats. I never thought that the rhetoric of 100 years ago would be dredged up and be re-used today. The only thing that Session would accomplish is to increase crime, make may people's lives more painful and fatten the pockets of the opioid pushers in Big Pharma richer. Do any of these appointees actually investigate anything other that their opinions? I keep forgetting that Truth has no place in the Trump World.
+8 # Villon 2017-03-16 23:47
Ignorance? Absolutely. Who ever suggested that we could "solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana?" Dishonesty? You bet! And while we're at it, let's throw in disgust with, as the writer, David Talbot, has dubbed him, "the sawed-off little racist" for these comments on marijuana. It's why the Federal government has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to marijuana. The fact that the Feds insist on keeping it as a Schedule I narcotic, right up there with meth, cocaine and heroin is evidence of this ignorance and dishonesty. Anyone who has ever smoked marijuana would find comments like Sessions' laughable without even lighting up the first bowl. Cat's out of the bag; the cake has already been baked. We're smoking pot no matter what the Nazis say.
+13 # AJNorth 2017-03-17 02:48
"Sessions has no facts on his side."

That statement is inarguably true for the overwhelming majority of Republicans (and others of the so-called "Right").

As Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson put it, "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
+20 # Texas Aggie 2017-03-17 04:44
The man obviously could benefit from standing half an hour in the smoke from a pile of burning weed. And if he wants to yammer about lives destroyed, he needs to go after Johnny Walker, not marihuana. There are a lot more lives destroyed and families destroyed and innocent people killed by alcohol than by anything illegal. Even tobacco is worse than marihuana has been in number of people killed and reductions in life span.
+3 # S. Halliburton 2017-03-17 13:31
This guy is a dinosaur. What antidiluvian swamp has this guy been inhabiting? It is people like this that make me believe that we must make smoking marijuana mandatory. They might not like it at first and we may have to put them in paper bags and blow the smoke in but give them a cheeseburger and assure them that those godless libtard communists mean them no harm and only want to remove the toxins from their diet and their thought processes. So rave on you cracker asswipe and pick your banjo on your porch.
+9 # 2017-03-17 14:03
It's probably irrelevant, but the guy looks like he is one of the decadent Southerners who populate Faulkner novels.

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