Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday said he’s “surprised” Americans aren’t overwhelmingly embracing his widely reported stance against marijuana, all the while recent polling reveals a majority of voters do in fact support legal pot.
Mr. Sessions briefly weighed in on marijuana legalization during a wide-ranging discussion held Tuesday at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix, AZCentral reported.
“When they nominated me for attorney general, you would have thought the biggest issue in America was when I said, ‘I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if they sell marijuana at every corner grocery store,’ ” Mr. Sessions told attendees.
“[People] didn’t like that; I’m surprised they didn’t like that,” he added.
Indeed, 57 percent Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to results of a government-sponsored opinion poll published last month, establishing a historic high point with respect to public support for pot.
Currently, marijuana is legal for medical or recreational purposes in 28 states and D.C., notwithstanding the federal government’s ongoing prohibition on pot.
And while Mr. Sessions infamously voiced anti-legalizing views prior to being confirmed as President Trump’s attorney general — at one point declaring “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” — his Justice Department has so far failed to take action against any of the more than two dozen states currently defying the federal law. Even so, Mr. Sessions spoke out explicitly last month against medical and recreational marijuana laws alike.
“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use, but too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable: I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store,” Mr. Sessions said during an address in Richmond, Virginia, last month.
“I think medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much,” Mr. Sessions continued, at one point saying pot is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.
Federal law is “not eviscerated because the state ceases to enforce it in that state,” Mr. Sessions said at the time.
Multiple bills have been filed in the House and Senate in the weeks since, aimed at reining in the federal government’s longstanding anti-marijuana stance.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government introduced legislation Thursday that would implement North America’s first federally approved system for legal marijuana.