Attorney General Jeff Sessions hates weed so much that he allegedly said he thought members of the KKK were "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana." But after White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that there would be greater enforcement of the federal law against marijuana use under the Trump administration, Sessions seemed like he might actually be chill about weed: He privately promised some Republican governors that he would respect states' marijuana laws.
Of course, Sessions could have been lying to them. After all, the nation's top lawyer was accused of lying under oath about meeting with a Russian diplomat during President Trump's campaign. So, kind of hard to say where this slippery little sucker really stands.
Today, Sessions gave a speech on violent crime in Richmond, Virginia, and his remarks included a section on opioid addiction. He said that violent gang activity is increasing as heroin and opioid abuse grows, and one way to solve this problem is to make sure that people never use drugs in the first place. Then he pulled the pin of a weed hand grenade.
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.
This isn't about being fashionable, it's about being logical. Pot is not "only slightly less awful" than heroin. The latter is highly addictive and can lead to respiratory failure and death; almost 13,000 people died from heroin overdoses in 2015. Also in 2015, the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Chuck Rosenberg, told reporters that "heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana." Rosenberg, by the way, is still the head of the DEA.
It's astonishing that Sessions would make such comments when Sean Spicer was roundly criticized just last month for trying to connect smoking pot to becoming addicted to painkillers and heroin. Experts agree that the opioid epidemic followed years of doctors overprescribing certain painkillers, then people turning to cheaper, easier-to-get heroin when the Rx pill faucet was turned off. And what, praytell, do doctors think would help lower opioid deaths? Medical marijuana.