Former Attorney General Eric Holder, is just as confused as we are by current AG Jeff Sessions cannabis war and why he is obsessed.
“I think the policy we had in place was a good one,” said Holder while speaking at John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Smart on Crime Innovations Conference. “Let the states experiment with the notion that again we have these eight or nine federal factors and if you trigger one of these eight or nine factors the feds are going to be coming in.” He went on to call out Sessions’ “almost obsession” with cannabis alongside his claimed support of state’s rights as a source of tension for the government.
This comes after Sessions made some remarks about cannabis while speaking before federal, state, and local law enforcement regarding the opioid crisis. “I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crises by legalizing marijuana,” Sessions said. “So people can trade one life wrecking dependency for another that is only slightly less awful. I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use.” These sorts of remarks are unsupported by growing research-backed evidence that cannabis is not only not harmful, but could in fact help prevent and treat opioid addiction. In a time where there is historic bipartisan support for medical cannabis and cannabis research, these sorts of remarks come across as out of touch at best.
While Holder’s support for states’ rights in regulating cannabis are commendable, it’s also important to note that he didn’t support rescheduling the drug until after leaving office, and supported a federal passivity towards state policy that has allowed for the kind of tensions being sewn by the anti-cannabis stances of Sessions. Whether more outspoken support during his tenure could have resulted in less of an issue now is mere conjecture, but Holder’s comments come across a bit “too little, too late.”