In a letter which just became public today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment—federal protections that bar the Justice Department from utilizing federal funds to go after states in which marijuana use, cultivation or distribution are legalized. Says Sessions,
I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.
The “historic drug epidemic” that Sessions refers to is a drastic increase in opioid usage and has nothing to do with marijuana. In fact, in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, deaths due to opioid use actually decline— sometimes as much as 25 percent. This is in large part due to people with chronic pain utilizing medical marijuana rather than becoming addicted to and overdosing on dangerous opioid-based prescription painkillers. Restricting the legalization of medical marijuana like Jeff Sessions recommends could actually make America’s opioid epidemic worse.
Due to its many benefits and relative safety, medical marijuana has huge public support and is popular among Democrats and Republicans. According to a poll published in April, 94 percent of Americans support legalization for medical purposes. And nearly 75 percent of people polled said they would be opposed to the federal government stepping in and enforcing federal laws in states where it has already been legalized. When asked about the Attorney General’s comments, Rep. Dan Rohrbacher (CA-R) stated,
Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana.
Sorry, Mr. Attorney General, but it looks like science and states’ rights may have the upper hand this time. Perhaps you should limit your pet projects to promoting racism and taking rights away from women. Or possibly focus on finding actual solutions to help the millions of Americans who are addicted to prescription painkillers.