DENVER – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued with Justice Department interns this summer over the safety and efficacy of marijuana use, according to new videos obtained by ABC News.
In the videos, which were shot during a lecture series for Justice Department summer interns that took place in June, Sessions chastised a woman who questioned his opposition to legal marijuana programs.
“There is this view that marijuana is harmless and it does no damage,” Sessions says in the video. “Marijuana is not a healthy substance, in my opinion. The American Medical Association is crystal clear on that.”
Sessions also cited a report out earlier this year that found for the first time ever, more people had illegal drugs in their systems after fatal crashes than those who had alcohol in their system.
The woman talking in the video with Sessions about marijuana accused him of having “harsh” stances toward marijuana.
“You support pretty harsh policies for marijuana and pretty lax gun control laws…so I’d like to know: Since guns kill more people than marijuana, why lax laws one versus the other?” she asked.
He asked the woman if she believed the AMA’s report about drugs and alcohol was correct, to which she said she didn’t.
“So, Dr. Whatever-Your-Name-Is, you can write to AMA and see why they think otherwise,” Sessions retorted.
According to ABC News, during the same meeting, Sessions said: "I don't think America's going to be a better place if marijuana's sold in every corner grocery store.”
The release of the videos comes about two weeks after Sessions said about cannabis: “It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it.”
Sessions said at the time the Justice Department was still reviewing its enforcement policies, however. He has said that through much of 2017 as Colorado leaders work to protect the state’s legal recreational and medical programs.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said Thursday that the continuing resolution passed by the House, which was then passed by the Senate, contained a provision to protect medical marijuana programs through Dec. 22.
However, he said: “Ultimately, Congress must act to put an end to the cycle of uncertainty and permanently protect state medical marijuana programs—and adult use—from federal interference. The American people have spoken. It’s past time that Congress catch up.”
The measure was included after Blumenauer and 65 other representatives asked congressional leadership for the protections. According to the Cannabist, Reps. Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn were the only representatives from Colorado not to sign the bill.
Sessions has said the idea that medical marijuana could be used to remedy heroin and opioid addiction is “stupid” and “hyped.”