Speaking before a Senate panel on Wednesday, Sessions was quick to dismiss a growing body of evidence that weed can help reduce opioid addiction.
Although, reported the Marijuana Moment, Sessions said he was aware of research indicating lower opioid overdose deaths in states that allow cannabis in some form.
For the first time, the Attorney General acknowledged that, “science is very important,” but doesn’t “believe that will be sustained in the long run.” Whatever you say, sir, just let us try.
Sessions also indicated that the federal government would soon take steps to license more entities to legally grow marijuana for research.
“We are moving forward and we will add fairly soon, I believe, the paperwork and reviews will be completed and we will add additional suppliers of marijuana under the controlled circumstances,” he said.
While the DEA enacted a new policy intended to license more research cultivators in 2016, it had not yet acted on any of the at least 25 applications to the program, according to the Washington Post.
Sessions did not provide any specific timeline for revising the research cultivation process.
Sessions added that fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine addiction remain priorities because people are “dying by massive amounts as a result of those drugs.” He correctly noted that there are, “very few, almost zero” dying due to marijuana. Yes, sir, zero.
In his inimitable, almost fuddy-duddy fashion, Sessions said he still has an “issue” with the simple consumption of cannabis.
“Medical marijuana, as one physician told me, ‘whoever heard of taking a medicine when you have no idea how much medicine you’re taking and ingesting it in the fashion that it is, which is in itself unhealthy?’”
Nevertheless, MMJ advocates welcomed Sessions’ admission that cannabis can help patients and say the Justice Department needs to promote research and policy changes sooner rather than later.
“Over two million registered medical marijuana patients throughout the legal markets can attest to the attorney general’s newfound revelation,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal told Marijuana Moment. “What we need is better research on consumer grade marijuana and lawful protections for legal markets, not further deliberation from the DoJ.”