Jeff Sessions: Marijuana is "slightly less awful" than heroin

Donald Trump flanked by VP Mike Pence and DHS Secretary John Kelly

Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled Wednesday that his view of marijuana is much more negative than that of his predecessor, Loretta Lynch, saying that the drug that has been legalized to some extent in dozens of states is "only slightly less awful" than heroin.

In his memo to the Department of Justice's 94 U.S. Attorney's Offices, Sessions said prosecuting violent criminals is a high priority and prosecutors should work with their local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement partners to target violent offenders in their areas.

During Wednesday's speech, Sessions also said that the country has "too much tolerance for drug use", and went back to citing Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign as a means for combating drug use, according to The Post.

Sessions held the call last Wednesday, said the dismissed U.S. attorney, who agreed to speak with CNN on the condition of anonymity. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable.

To be clear, no one anywhere has ever died of a marijuana overdose.

The cherry on top of Sessions' reefer madness was a tidbit given to reporters after his speech, where he asserted that he was "dubious" of the importance of medical cannabis. "No one complains about that", said John Walsh, an Obama-era appointee as USA attorney in Colorado who resigned in July.

"[Sessions is] seeking to divide us", says Nia Ventall, an employee of Planned Parenthood who joined the protesters.

"Murder rates are half of what they were in 1980".

"It's very, very gut-level reaction", said Steven Schleicher, a former prosecutor who left Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger's office in January and was still in contact with people there.

During Project Exile's first year, Richmond homicides declined 33 percent and armed robberies declined 30 percent.

"Some people want to bar all guns", Sessions said.

Whenever there's a change in presidential administration, he said, "I think it would be unwise not to be ready". Technically, this classification does not mean that heroin and marijuana are equally risky, but the DEA and Justice Department have not always been clear on this matter.

But despite a recent bipartisan push to enact criminal justice reforms to address these disparities and outcomes, Sessions said he will buck the trend of the moment.

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