03.15.2017
policy

Attorney General Sessions Thinks Weed Is 'Slightly Less Awful' Than Heroin

Here's why he's slightly more awful than just plain wrong.

When it comes to drugs, recently appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions is just not down for the cause. 

During a speech delivered to a Richmond, Virginia, audience, Sessions hated on weed fairly hard. On the awfulness scale, Sessions equated consuming cannabis to using heroin.

Sessions said to the crowd:

“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 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.

Sessions might be correct about something, once or twice a day, but while heroin leaves only sadness and destruction in its wake, weed is kind of not like that at all.

Most any activity a cogent human being would normally enjoy kind of just dulls and turns to gray dust when heroin enter the daily routine. Weed, on the other hand, is more commonly experienced as enhancing or elevating the user's interaction with life and general mental equilibrium.  

"In the ’80s and ’90s, we saw how campaigns stressing prevention brought down drug use and addiction. We can do this again," Sessions said to the crowd on Wednesday. "Educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs and addiction will result in better choices. We can reduce the use of drugs, save lives and turn back the surge in crime that inevitably follows in the wake of increased drug abuse.”

Trump and Sessions' next move on federal enforcement of marijuana laws is still anybody's guess. Not knowing what to anticipate has some stakeholders within the currently legal weed industry worried, seemingly unsure of its future.

More than 150,000 people are currently employed within the legal cannabis space. Absent any form of catastrophic interference, this demographic of weed workers is expected to increase to more than a quarter of a million people by 2020.

Placing marijuana on the same tier of awfulness as heroin is not so much “unfashionable,” but more along the lines of a slightly dangerous claim. The classification, like the DEA's Schedule 1 designation for cannabis, borders on willful misinformation.

As state-by-state medical and recreational cannabis laws are enacted, stories of weed seeming to alleviate opioid addiction have highlighted cannabis as a potentially viable alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals, or illicit opiates.

Cannabis is a drug, sure, but heroin is straight up dope. If the country's top law-enforcement official is unable to discern any difference, then the war on drugs is about to be lost all over again. 

Editor's Note: The sentiment that cannabis-use is only slightly less awful than heroin was indeed included in the written remarks prepared for Sessions' speech. (see link above) But dropped when the attorney general actually spoke. Instead, he remarked:

"I’m astonished to hear people suggest we can solve our heroin crisis -- have you heard this? -- by having more marijuana. I mean, how stupid is that! Give me a break! So we’re going to have to stand up and confront that, tell the truth here. And our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs is bad, that it will destroy your life."

"I think we have too much of a tolerance for drug use - psychologically, politically, morally. We need to say as Nancy Reagan said, 'Just say no!' Don’t do it!' There’s no excuse for this, it’s not recreational...and it consistently is destructive."

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