U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced questions at a hearing last week about the Justice Department blocking marijuana research.
Now, in written follow-up queries about his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a key lawmaker is pressing Sessions on broader cannabis policy issues.
“Heroin overdoses killed 15,400 people in 2016 and opioid overdoses killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. Meanwhile, not a single death from overdosing on marijuana has ever been reported,” U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), wrote to the attorney general on Wednesday.
“Do you stand by your recently stated view that ‘marijuana [is] only slightly less awful then heroin?’”
In prepared remarks for speech in March, Sessions said he is “astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”
As a preface to his question, Leahy cited research showing that “opioid overdoses are significantly lower in states with legal medical marijuana programs.”
The AG wants to defeat my amdt to protect state-approved med marijuana laws. My Q: Show me an example of an investigation derailed by amdt? pic.twitter.com/H5Xw95T8oc
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) October 26, 2017
In a second marijuana query, the Vermont lawmaker, who recently sponsored a successful committee amendment to continue federal protections for state medical cannabis laws, pressed Sessions about the provision.
“If a business with a license to cultivate and sell marijuana for medical purposes under state law was involved in money