Even though both he and his thought processes tend to move like molasses through a keyhole, Jeff Sessions finally gave every pro-cannabis American what they’ve been waiting for. During a routine budget request hearing yesterday, the Attorney General quietly admitted there “may well be some benefits from medical marijuana, and it’s perfectly appropriate to study that.”
Sessions has, since his promotion to the position of Attorney General, come under routine scrutiny for his comments in regards to weed — namely, he doesn’t believe “good people” smoke it and that the KKK was pretty cool until he learned about their grass habits (and maybe jazz preferences).
The revelation came when Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) asked Sessions whether he had actually looked at the growing evidence supporting the claim cannabis aids in getting people off of opioids. Given that, in his own words, Sessions’ commitment is to try and reduce the epidemic, Shatz asked whether his beliefs had been challenged and if he’d at least looked at the data.
“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 it is which is in itself unhealthy,” Sessions replied, often tripping over his own words. “However … I think … there can be … there may well be some benefits from medical marijuana, and it’s perfectly appropriate to study that.” (~1:14:11 on linked video)
A win for cannabis activists, sure, but short lived.
Sessions quickly followed up with a barrage of old-school arguments against the effaciacy of the drug, stating he doesn’t believe the studies coming out and the new data probably won’t even mean much in the future.
“I do not believe at this point, that — I think one study that suggested there’s some sort of inverse relationship between increased marijuana use and reducing of deaths — I’ve asked my staff to take a look at it,” he continued. “Because science is very important. I don’t believe that will be sustained.”
His only stated case against it? The American Medical Association’s stance opposing legal marijuana.
“The American Medical Association is absolutely resolutely opposed to marijuana use … ” he said.
Except, that’s not entirely accurate. The AMA has its hands tied right now floating the line between what it feels is right, and what the government wants it to say. As of right now, a lot of association members (plus over half of the country, Republicans included) want weed to be legalized; but as a whole, most have taken a hands-off approach to it, stating it “calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients.”
It just wants more research on it, which is what most scientists will say if they’re worth their weight in white lab coats.
Which, luckily, Sessions is cool with too. In the same hearing, he promises to move forward with implementing more licenses to facilities to study the plant.
Unfortunately, following this tortoise pace, other countries such as Israel, India and Canada are going to be miles ahead of the U.S. in terms of breaking into a new industry.
But at least Old Man Molasses is moving. Slowly. Surely.