The attorney general is a notorious weed hater. He once joked that he thought the KKK were “were OK until I found out they smoked pot,” and claimed last year that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Perhaps it’s no surprise then that he is gearing up to revive the war on marijuana, disparaging a recent wave of drug legalization efforts across the country. “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,” Sessions said in a speech on Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia. “Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
In fact, no one is saying that the heroin and opioid crisis, which have ravaged swaths of Trump country, can be “solved” through marijuana legalization. However, medical research does show a correlation between marijuana use and a drop in heroin use. Yasmin Hurd, a professor at Mount Sinai Hospital’s medical school in New York, found that legal pot could reduce “heroin-seeking behavior,” which has been backed by medical studies.
A 2014 Johns Hopkins study found that in states with legal medical marijuana, there were 25 percent fewer deaths from drug overdoses than in states where medical marijuana is illegal. “In absolute terms, states with a medical marijuana law had about 1,700 fewer opioid painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than would be expected based on trends before the laws were passed,” said Marcus Bachhuber, a University of Pennsylvania professor who worked on the study.