DENVER – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday said the idea that medical marijuana could be used as a remedy to heroin and opioid addiction is “stupid” in his latest statements questioning the legitimacy of medical and recreational marijuana programs in states like Colorado.
Speaking to law enforcement agencies in Virginia, Sessions said he and his office “may rethink” some of the policies regarding federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana, according to The Washington Post.
“Medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much,” Sessions said.
The Post reports that Sessions also said after his speech that he was “dubious” of medical marijuana and research that points to it being an alternative painkiller and treatment option for opioid addicts.
“I’ve heard people say we could solve our heroin problem with marijuana. How stupid is that? Give me a break,” he said during his speech, which again lumped together drug use and an uptick last year in violent crime.
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana sales, but medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and D.C.
In recent weeks, Sessions has said he’s “not a fan” of marijuana use but has said that states “can pass the laws they choose,” though he maintained that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana enforcement.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman responded to Sessions’ prior comments by inviting him to Colorado to see its program firsthand.
"I'd like to be able to share what we have learned and where we have put in place a good framework for marijuana regulations," she said. "Now for the federal government to say we're doing things wrong, or we're going to come in and take this regulation away from you without having first looked to see what we're doing is precipitous."
During Wednesday’s speech, Sessions also said that the country has “too much tolerance for drug use,” and went back to citing Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign as a means for combating drug use, according to The Post.
Colorado's medical and recreational businesses sold more than $1 billion worth of pot last year. Industry leaders have said the dismantling of the state's industry could cause a recession.