Senator Jeff Sessions has been a leading drug warrior in Congress since the days of Nancy Reagan and “Just Say No,” so imagine his dismay when President Obama recently told The New Yorker magazine that he doesn't believe marijuana is any more harmful than alcohol.
Actually, no need to imagine Session's dismay, because yesterday, while questioning Attorney General Eric Holder during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, he made his hurt feelings clear as a freshly cleaned glass bong.
“I’m heartbroken to see what the president said just a few days ago. It’s stunning to me. I find it beyond comprehension… This is just difficult for me to conceive how the President of the United States could make such a statement as that… Did the president conduct any medical or scientific survey before he waltzed into The New Yorker and opined contrary to the positions of attorneys general and presidents universally prior to that?”
Sessions has a point. Obama didn't offer any scientific evidence to back up his claim. And making such a shocking statement -- one that, if true, would reveal the entire War on Marijuana to be a senseless, horrific farce -- without substantiating it does seem sort of irresponsible.
Just imagine how much stronger Obama's statement would have been if he'd pointed out that way back in 1988 DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young examined all the available evidence regarding pot's potential harms and wrote a ruling affirming that, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances know to man.... In strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.”
Not that such a definitive statement would have altered rhetoric from anti-pot conservatives like Sessions. Especially when the Senator from Alabama had his own cannabis expert to cite before the esteemed lawmakers in Congress: “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to [marijuana],” Sessions testified, “and it is not harmless.”
Of course, Obama never called pot harmless, he just said no more harmful than booze. But then again, who are you gonna believe, the President of the United States and every single actual pot smoker you've ever met in your life, or some Senator quoting the inventor of the meat dress?