Despite extensive research to the contrary, Jeff Sessions implies federal enforcement of cannabis laws are necessary within states that have legalized its recreational use due to THC content.
“I believe [marijuana use is] an unhealthy practice and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago,” Sessions said. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”
Sessions’ statement about violence increasing as a result of marijuana use doesn’t pass muster. In 2014, researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas concluded that there is no link between marijuana use and an increase in crime rates. Another study conducted by Yale University, Rutgers University, and the University of Buffalo discovered that marijuana use actually helps lower incidents of domestic violence.
AG Sessions also didn’t publicly state whether to not his Department of Justice would prioritize enforcement of federal laws barring the use, possession, sale, or growth of cannabis over state laws where recreational pot use is legal.
Recreational cannabis use has proven to be an economic boon for states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, which have all legalized the sale of cannabis through ballot initiatives in the last five years. All three of those states are ranked among the top 10 best state economies in the country, according to Wallethub. In Colorado alone, the state’s pot shops sold over $1 billion worth of recreational cannabis in 2016, amounting to more than $150 million in tax revenue.