Last February Attorney General Jeff Sessions was quoted by the Washington Post on marijuana: “I see a line in The Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s,” Sessions said. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just – almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong.”
In fact, it already had. Back in 2014 the Journal of the American Medical Association in a report said: “Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates,” and provided the data to prove it.
In another quote the following month, Sessions was a little less sure about that skepticism: “’I think medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much,’” he told reporters in Richmond after an event about violent crime, “’Dosages can be constructed in a way that might be beneficial, I acknowledge that, but if you smoke marijuana, for example, where you have no idea how much THC you’re getting, it’s probably not a good way to administer a medicinal amount. So forgive me if I’m a bit dubious about that.’”
Now the Wall Street Journal brings more data. According to the Journal report. Researchers have shown that the rates of people with opioid addiction dropped 23% and overdoses requiring hospitalization dropped 13% in places where medical marijuana was legalized. Plus, another study in Colorado recently discovered a 6.5% decrease in opioid-related deaths. Shouldn’t the government be shouting this out to opioid users across the landscape? Instead of useful information, they get attorney general skepticism.
Jeff Sessions is a dedicated public servant, but his ill-informed prejudice in favor of our laws against drugs is another example of how slow our policy makers have been to grasp the realities of drugs in our country. By spouting off opinions with neither scientific proof or empirical data, they further cement the uninformed prejudices of the public. He seems to be on an upward sloped learning curve, but he and other denizens of the District of Columbia need to wake up and pay unbiased attention to what we’re learning in the real world.
© Rights reserved to Dave Finch 11/30/2017
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