Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued to make eyebrow-raising statements about marijuana on Wednesday, though he did not utter a line in a prepared speech that marijuana use is “only slightly less awful” than heroin addiction.
Justice Department spokespeople did not immediately respond to an inquiry about why Sessions dropped the line, which had attracted widespread attention on Twitter after the prepared speech was posted online ahead of an event in Richmond, Virginia.
The comparison, of course, is controversial. Heroin killed nearly 13,000 Americans in 2015 and related opioids another 20,000, and users often commit a wide range of crimes to support their addictions.
Marijuana is used by a much larger population and doesn’t kill users — with legalization advocates arguing it’s even safer than alcohol.
Though he did not utter the particular claim, Sessions did give an increasingly familiar denunciation of marijuana, ridiculing the findings of preliminary research that shows more liberal pot laws may contribute to less opioid abuse.
At his podium, Sessions said “we’re not going to worry about being fashionable” and predicted victory in an undefined “argument” in “the months to come.” [Read more at US News]